Wisden, the iconic almanack which made its 2010 appearance this week, has weighed in to the debate about declining coverage of the county championship by national newspapers.
sportsjournalists.co.uk raised the issue last spring, when it reported that PA Sport changed its personnel for county cricket coverage in the south-east, and the Daily Telegraph cut virtually its entire county cricket staff, relying instead on agency copy topped off with unlikely cod names.
Now, the 147th edition of Wisden has supplemented its usual, painstaking collection of statistics and reports with two thought-provoking features on the topic of newspaper coverage of the game, one by Gerald Mortimer, the other by Michael Henderson.
Mortimer is the retired former former sports editor, cricket and football correspondent of the Derby Evening Telegraph. In his “An Endangered Species” feature, he recalls that when he began reporting the game 40 years ago, he had to arrive at the ground early to be sure of a seat in the press box, such was the number of cricket writers on the county circuit. Despite much improved press facilities these days, the job of a cricket writer on the county circuit can be a lonely one.
As reported by The Sports Bookshelf website: “The crisis in the newspaper industry is to blame in part. No title has been immune from savage cuts in editorial budget and priorities have to be made. Unfortunately for cricket, the need to trim costs has coincided with the arrival of a breed of sports editor consumed by football.”
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