It’s now 6 months since named Teeside Gazette reporters were banned from the club and the paper’s rival is backing calls for the stand off to end.
Back in August, Dominic Shaw and Jonathan Taylor were told they couldn’t interview managers, players, or attend press conferences. They were also denied match day accreditation.
While not necessarily linked, the decision came after the paper was criticised by the club for “wide of the mark” reporting on a player transfer.
The Gazette is now trying to resolve the situation and its rival, the Northern Echo used an editorial piece to support them.
“For us to speak up on behalf of The Gazette may seem about as likely as Jose Mourinho offering a kind word to Pep Guardiola but sometimes you have to set aside self interest and look at the bigger picture,” it stated.
“The club has continued to offer some Gazette reporters unfettered access but the paper has taken a principled stance not to attend press conferences on the basis that no third party has the right to dictate which reporters are assigned to a story.
“Our natural instinct is to back our fellow journalists, even those who work for a local rival. We empathise with their stance, although the full details behind the spat have never been made clear as the club has remained tight-lipped.
“Wherever the blame lies we believe that clear-the-air talks between both parties would be a sensible next step.”
The opinion piece concluded “a key point to emerge from this affair is that newspapers must remain fiercely independent from the influence of organisations, politicians and businesses. If we ever reach a point when we accept that they can dictate the terms of engagement then the free press as we know it will have died.”
You can read the full piece on the Echo’s website.
It’s not the first time that football clubs have decided to ban media from press conferences. Newcastle United revealed Steve McClaren to “media partners”, the club had also banned the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards.