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Daily launches fresh bid to overturn football club’s ban on reporters

A fresh appeal has been made to get a football club to lift a ban on two regional daily journalists which caused the newspaper to boycott press facilities at matches.

The Teesside Gazette has urged Middlesbrough FC to open a dialogue in a bid to resolve the situation, which has also led to the paper declining to publish quotes from club management or players.

Six months ago, Gazette journalists Dominic Shaw and Jonathon Taylor were prevented from speaking to then-manager Garry Monk in separate incidents at pre-season friendly matches.

The Gazette says no formal explanation has ever been provided by Middlesbrough and, although its other reporters¬†are still welcome to attend press conferences and use the press facilities at the club’s Riverside Stadium, the paper says it “objects” to the policy.

Middlesbrough FC's Riverside Stadium

Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium

In an update on the situation for readers, marking six months since the saga began, the Gazette said: “It is true that [Gazette sports journalists] Anthony Vickers and Philip Tallentire are still welcome to attend press conferences and use the press facilities at the Riverside, but the Gazette objects to MFC deciding which of our journalists can report on its activities.

“The same would apply if a local council, police force or health trust attempted to impose similar restrictions. Independent publishers must be free to make their own editorial decisions.”

The Gazette says it has contacted the club “at all levels” in an attempt to resolve the matter, and continues to send at least two reporters to cover each game.

The paper added: “We remain eager to resolve the dispute so we can provide the best possible service to our readers. We would welcome any opportunity to work with the club to resolve the current situation.”

HTFP has asked Middlesbrough FC for a comment.

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  • January 25, 2018 at 8:46 am

    The problem these sports reporters have is the constant meddling of the editors and digital deskers who never have to come face-to-face with key players at football clubs. I once worked for an editor who told me to “forget the clubs” because “we don’t need them”. Rather me sit in the office and regurgitate pointless guff off twitter than spend time building the relationships you require to get ahead on the bigger stories. A few weeks later, said editor is moaning because we don’t get a story first as the chairman won’t field calls and other contacts have been warned off by pain of sacking if any of them talked to us. I can’t speak for the situation at all regional newspapers, but the wrecking ball my editor and some of his newsdesk staff tried to take to the relationship I had worked hard to build up was very frustrating. Pitching silly story ideas that would have only left me hanging out to dry is one of the reasons I am very glad I am not in this game anymore.

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