Mike Rowbottom, athletics correspondent at The Independent for 16 years, confirmed today to colleagues in Annecy, France, covering the European Cup, that he would be the sports desk staffer to take redundancy in the latest round of cuts at his newspaper.
Separately, further to an announcement earlier this week, two more journalist jobs on the sports desk at the Daily Telegraph are understood to have been cut.
Simon Turnbull, the Independent on Sunday‘s athletics writer, will take on responsibilities for both titles and their website in the future, though both he and Rowbottom will work together at the Beijing Olympics.
One other senior sports correspondent is also to leave the paper in a round of redundancies which The Independent‘s NUJ chapel has sought to oppose.
The Independent is not cutting all journalists’ jobs: SJA award-winner James Lawton, managed by DWM, has agreed a contract with the paper which keeps him there at least until the London Olympics in 2012.
After working for the short-lived Sunday Correspondent, Rowbottom joined The Independent in 1992 to succeed Neil Wilson, the paper’s launch athletics correspondent, after he re-joined the Daily Mail.
Rowbottom’s well-balanced and gentle work is widely admired by colleagues and athletes alike. Indeed, for a long spell, Rowbottom had the dubious honour of being perhaps the only member of the British athletics press corps to whom Linford Christie would speak.
His work at the paper included a highly regarded weekly column that took a humorous look at sport. His co-authored biography with Olympic silver medallist, Roger Black, How Long’s the Course, was very well reviewed.
To read a selection of Rowbottom’s work at The Independent, click here