BBC’s Ornstein latest recruit for The Athletic

The exodus of sports journalists to new venture, The Athletic, continues.

BBC sports correspondent David Ornstein is the latest high-profile recruit, according to website Prolific North, as the American sports subscription digital platform gears up for an August launch.

Ornstein started his career as a trainee on The Guardian, one of the national newspapers hit by The Athletic’s arrival. Amy Lawrence, award-winning columnist and chief football writer Danny Taylor and Dominic Fifield are all joining the new venture, according to Buzzfeed.

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The Mail have lost executive sports news editor Laura Williamson, Midlands reporter Laurie Whitwell and London-based Adam Crafton to The Athletic.

The Times has also been hit with the departure of sports editor Alex Kay-Jelski while chief football correspondent Oliver Kay and northern football reporter George Caulkin are understood to be leaving too.

Regional newspapers have been blitzed – Yorkshire Post (Phil Hay), Brighton Evening Argus (Andy Naylor), Birmingham Mail (Gregg Evans), Liverpool Echo (James Pearce), Leicester Mercury (Rob Tanner), Wolverhampton Express and Star (Tim Spiers) have all announced their departures and been mysterious about their next step.


The Athletic started in the US in 2016 and has expanded rapidly across the United States. It has a reputation for treating its employees well and is certainly offering high-end salaries to the journalists being recruited in Britain.

So far it has not made any official statement regarding staff or launch but, based on their US model, monthly subscription prices are likely to be around £8 a month.

There will be no click-bait, nor advertising and, so far, not a single ‘red top’ journalist has been employed. The Telegraph has so far fended off all approaches for its senior journalists, keeping its football team intact.

The big names bring a social media presence – Ornstein has 438,000 followers on Twitter and is regarded as the most reliable source of stories on Arsenal.