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Category: The Times

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John Woodcock obituary

Long-serving cricket correspondent for the Times who also spent six years as editor of WisdenEvery time there is an on-field occurrence – wicket, goal, whatever – at a sporting event, the journalists present will huddle to make sure their interpretatio…

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John Bryant, journalist and key figure in London Marathon, dies aged 76

Bryant had senior jobs at Telegraph and Times and wrote several books about runningThe journalist and author John Bryant, who played a pivotal role in the success of the London Marathon, has died at the age of 76.He died peacefully at his home in Surre…

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Fairytale newspaper coverage for Leicester City’s fairytale victory

National press revels in the chance to report good news by recording the remarkable Premier League success by the 5,000 to 1 outsiders

Leicester City’s Roy-of-the-Rovers-style achievement by winning the Premier League dominated the front and back pages of the national press on Tuesday.

Amidst the Brexit debate, the Labour party’s internal strife and the ongoing war against Isis, editors clearly revelled in the opportunity to report a good news story.

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Two columnists depart from Glasgow Herald in row with Rangers

Award-winning sports writer leaves in disagreement over newspaper’s apology to football club… and a columnist who supported him is fired

Two columnists have lost their jobs at the Herald newspapers in Glasgow following complaints from Rangers football club.

Graham Spiers, an award-winning sports writer, departed after threats of legal action over one of his Herald columns.

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Did Usain Bolt slag off the Commonwealth Games?

The Times claims that he did in an article. Bolt denies it. We need to know the truthI didnt say it, claims Bolt Continue reading…

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Newspapers gnash their teeth in reporting England’s World Cup defeat

The picture on today’s front pages of The Times and The Independent of Luis Suarez consoling Steven Gerrard at the end of the World Cup match summed up the game’s emotional drama.

“Don’t cry, Kai. If Italy beat Costa Rica today… then Suarez & Co lose to Italy.. and Daddy scores a couple (or maybe more) against Costa Rica…”

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Cricket writers alarmed at PA’s change to county matches coverage

The Cricket Writers’ Club (CWC) is up in arms about a decision by the Press Association to change the way it plans to cover county cricket from this summer.

A posting on the Sports Journalists’ Association website says the CWC has complained to the England and Wales Cricket Board over plans by its media contractors, PA Sport, to stop paying freelancers to report matches.

Ashley Broadley, PA’s sports editor, is quoted as saying: “When planning how to allocate our resources this year we took the decision to bring coverage of the county game in-house.”

In-house? That means PA will use its own staff to attend county grounds and when that isn’t possible, it will rely on officially generated data to provide score updates. It may also use Twitter feeds.

Supplying copy and scores to PA is a mainstay of many regional freelancers’ incomes. It is thought 20 reporters will suffer.

Mark Baldwin, The Times’s cricket writer and chairman-elect of the CWC, says his club is deeply concerned about the effect on county cricket coverage:

“It is conceivable that some county matches this summer will be played with no written media in the press box at certain times, as a lot of regional freelances see the PA contract as the basis for their commitment to attend every day of their county club’s home matches.”

The CWC is backed by the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA). Its secretary, Steven Downes, says: “This is the latest example of the erosion of the worth of proper journalistic values, and it undermines, yet again, the work of many of our members…

“The SJA calls on PA Sport to reconsider its position and ask them to make a decision that will uphold the integrity of its county cricket coverage.”

Back in 2001, PA did try to cover county cricket in-house but relented after protests from subscribers at both national and regional newspapers.

Sources: Sports Journalists’ Association/HoldTheFrontPage

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Premiership rugby: Sun and Times subscribers get online and mobile clips

News UK extends digital sport offering beyond Premier League and Champions League football, with BT retaining TV rights

Sun and Times publisher News UK has snapped up the online and mobile clip rights to Aviva Premiership rugby, bolstering its online sports content following its aquisition of Premier League and Champions Leage football rights.

News UK, which also publishes the Sunday Times, has agreed a deal with Aviva Premiership Rugby after the rights were released by BT Sport, which has an exclusive TV deal.

It will show the clips across the Sun, Times and Sunday Times mobile and online offerings until June 2017.

The deals kicks off immediately with the first clips shown from Friday evening’s encounter between Bath and Saracens. The clips will be available within three hours of the matches finishing.

Mike Darcey, the News UK chief executive, said: “The partnership with Aviva Premiership Rugby significantly strengthens our offering to loyal subscribers of our world-renowned titles. Passion for rugby is shared across members of the Sun, Times and Sunday Times and we are delighted to take our post-match clips packages beyond football for the first time.”

Premiership Rugby’s commercial director, Dominic Hayes, said: “Aviva Premiership Rugby is growing every season and this partnership brings the league to a brand new platform. This new deal brings a really compelling online offering for the Sun, Times and Sunday Times subscribers.”

News UK believes that sports content will help drive subscription numbers to its three UK news sites, which are behind paywalls. In January 2013 it acquired Premier League rights , beating off a challenge from BSkyB, and has subsequently acquired Champions League and Europa League rights.

BT is the current holder of the Aviva Premiership rugby TV rights, which it snatched from BSkyB in September 2012.

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Now Paul Dacre is the story as Miliband emerges with enhanced image

The controversy over the Daily Mail’s claim that Ed Miliband’s father hated Britain continues in today’s press.

There is a page lead in The Times, “Heseltine turns on Mail over article about Miliband father” (plus a T2 feature based on the row). The Daily Telegraph carries a page 2 story, “Miliband: Attack on father drags politics into gutter”. The Guardian has a full page, “Mail attack may derail press regulation talks” (plus an op-ed commentary). The Independent’s page lead is headlined “Miliband-Mail row: ‘the next election can’t be fought in gutter.”

And the Mail itself can’t leave it alone. Columnist Stephen Glover seeks to put the knife in once more by excusing Saturday’s headline, “The man who hated Britain”, as an “interpretation of the facts.”

He went on to make a tortuous argument about “Red Ed” being a hypocrite because some Labour MPs were rude about Margaret Thatcher after her death. So why the “calculated hysteria” of Miliband about the Mail’s treatment of his father?

It is clear that the Mail’s editor, Paul Dacre, has forgotten the first rule of those who find themselves in an untenable position: when in a hole, stop digging.

When Miliband complained on Saturday about the Mail’s article on his father, Ralph, Dacre could not accept that he had done wrong.

From that moment on, he made a series of extremely poor decisions because he could not bring himself to apologise.

The headline was both inaccurate and offensive. It was disrespectful to the memory of a man who fought for Britain. If it had said “the man who hated democracy”, I doubt there would have been any fuss at all.

The defence of “the man who hated Britain” headline by Dacre’s deputy, Jon Steafel, on Newsnight was a wonder to behold.

He sought to justify the headline by suggesting that Ralph Miliband’s writings “conveyed an impression of what he thought about Britain, which was antipathetic to the views and values of a lot of British people.”

That doesn’t imply hate. However hard Steafel tried, however often he repeated the same pathetic argument, he just couldn’t justify the headline. There was not a scintilla of proof of hatred.

His second line of defence was a claim that it is some kind of journalistic convention to read “the headline and the piece… in conjunction with each other.”

Really? What was that meant to suggest? That people are to discover the meaning of a headline by reading between the lines of the copy? That’s a new one.

Anyway, even if that is so, reading this specific piece only served to confirm that the headline was not justified by the content. A 16-year-old refugee’s diary entry and the cobbling together of some quotes from Miliband senior’s mature political works did not add up to a hatred of the country that gave him sanctuary.

But Dacre did not have the grace to admit that the assertion in the headline was wholly wrong. So he compounded the error by going on the attack.

Now he finds himself and the Daily Mail being traduced by an increasing number of people, including several Tories who found the piece objectionable. They include David Cameron, Lord Heseltine, Lord Moore, Francis Maude, George Eustice and Margot James.

At the same time, by delving back into Ed Miliband’s history, he has reopened the controversy over the Nazi sympathies (and anti-Semitic prejudice – see here) of his proprietor’s ancestor.

I have previously written that we should not damn the Mail, and the current Lord Rothermere, for his great-grandfather’s support for fascism.

But I concede that, in these circumstances, the regurgitation of the Harmsworth family’s dark past is valid. It is hardly surprising that it is now back on the agenda.

Similarly, Dacre’s own family history has also become the subject of some fascination. Why, people are asking, didn’t his own father fight for Britain in the second world war, as Ralph Miliband did?

Then there is Dacre’s own background as a leftish student. He is now likely to be held up to ridicule for what he wrote while at Leeds university.

In truth, the whole affair has blown up in Dacre’s face because of his intransigence. The Mail editor has become the centre of a story that has legs.

In the process, he has achieved the reverse of his intentions. A dignified Ed Miliband has emerged with an enhanced image. As for press regulation, he has made it infinitely more difficult for the matter to be resolved in favour of the system he favours.

I detect that there are similarities now between Dacre’s position and that of former Sun editor Kelvin “The Truth” MacKenzie who cannot escape the embarrassment of the Hillsborough controversy.

There will not be a boycott of the Mail as there was, and is, of The Sun in Liverpool. But there is no doubt that this episode has undermined the paper’s standing and may have negative effects in future.

Dacre’s insult to Ralph and Ed Miliband will haunt him for the rest of his editorship. He should reflect on the fact that, after 21 years in the job, he has been brought low by his arrogance.

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