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Journalist axed from regional daily launches sports news site

Craig StoddartA journalist has launched his own regional sports news website with a former colleague after his role was made redundant by a regional daily.

Former Northern Echo deputy sports editor Craig Stoddart has joined forces with Joe Willis to launch North East Sport News, which aims to tap into the interest in non-league football and other grassroots sport in the region.

Craig recently left the Darlington-based Echo along with editorial colleagues Nick Loughlin and Paul Fraser after owner Newsquest made a series of cutbacks across the country as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

He has been a presence on the press bench at Darlington FC games for two decades and was instrumental in the running of the Echo’s Local Heroes sports supplement.

Craig, pictured, said: “The feedback so far for North East Sport News has been great and really encouraging, proving that there is a desire to read about local sport.

“We want to meet that demand, which is something I spent 20 years doing at the Northern Echo.

“I was proud to work for so long on the sports desk at my local paper, it was a privilege to do so, and in particular cover Darlington FC for most of that time.”

“Launching the website enables me to continue giving Darlington fans the news and interviews they want, but we want to cover more than just football – people love sport in this part of the world and we want to provide coverage of it as best we can.”

Joe, who was previously the Echo’s social media editor, already runs local news websites Richmondshire Today and Hambleton Today.

He said: “The larger regional media companies have dramatically reduced their coverage of semi-professional and amateur sport in recent years.

“That leaves an awful lot of clubs and sports, and their supporters and participants, starved of good quality coverage – hopefully we can help to address this issue in our corner of the world.

“We both love sport so it’s great to be working on something we share a real passion in.”