Sun signs up Paul Smith for Sunday football duty

The Sunday Mirror is looking for a new chief football writer following the decision of Paul Smith to join The Sun.

Paul Smith: Sun recruit

Smith, along with close friend and former News of the World chief football writer Rob Beasley, are expected eventually to be ring-fenced for the Sunday edition of the newly seven-day operation.

Smith’s departure comes just as Trinity Mirror – publishers of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People – is looking to cut around 75 jobs. Sunday Mirror sports editor David Walker has been told he is able to recruit the best candidate to replace Smith.

Smith, who began his career more than 20 years ago as a reporter at Match, has a reputation for story-gathering and has been brought in to beef up The Sun‘s new edition, which was launched two weeks ago in such a rush that the Rob Shepherd’s back-page “exclusive” about Harry Redknapp being offered a new contract at Spurs was little different from a story written by Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror several days earlier.

According to one Wapping insider, “We’re not allowed to call it ‘The Sun on Sunday’. It’s The Sun, it just comes out seven days a week, not six.

“It had been planned for an April or May launch, so six days’ notice was ludicrous. At present existing staff have to “volunteer” to work extra days while there’s a 90-day consultancy period with the union, but everybody is already knackered.”

The Sun's first Sunday edition

Current sports staff – reporters and subs – are understood to be paid extra for any work they do for The Sun‘s Sunday edition, as the department struggles to cope with a six-day workforce.

There has also been a knock-on effect at rival Sunday papers, with reporters concerned about the dangers posed if a reporter from a seven-day title is allowed to attend briefings intended for Sunday newspapers as well as dailies.

Last week a Brad Friedel interview, given under embargo until Sunday, was printed in Saturday’s Sun, although this appears to have been an accident caused by the chaos of the extra edition.


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2 thoughts on “Sun signs up Paul Smith for Sunday football duty

  1. Rob Beasley has been in touch, and asked us to post this for him.

    Dear SJA,

    Your recent article about Paul Smith joining The Sun mentions me.

    Let’s be clear. There is absolutely no chance of Rob Beasley being “ring-fenced” purely for the Sunday edition of The Sun.

    I am the Chief Sports Correspondent of The Sun and have been since 2009 when I turned down a promotion and a big pay rise from the News of the World to move down the corridor to the sister paper.

    The only difference now is that I will have the chance to deliver my big exclusive interviews and big exclusive stories to The Sun seven days a week, not six.

    Hopefully next year that will help me actually win another SJA award rather than finish as a “highly commended” runner-up as I did the other night. (Great do by the way!)

    I hope this clears up any confusion.

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