The answer may well be that someone with decent journalism skills from the clubs takes up the role and strikes some kind of relationship with the gazette.
Thanks for your informative reply and comments, and points taken.... but SSFC does have such a person with good journalistic skills who does indeed send e:mails to the 'Gazette' local non-league football reporter of match reports with all the relevant facts and figures in articles that could be printed verbatim. Unfortunately, due to usually quoted 'considerations of available space', the copy sent invariably does not see print, and what does appear is a greatly shortened version. What does cause upset to numerous readers is the now quite usual absolute brevity and total minimum of a report of a game or notice of a coming game that is tucked away amid the mass of coverage for Sunderland and Newcastle. It is well understood of course that these teams rightly deserve the coverage commensurate to their size and fan base support in Shields, but not to reduce the coverage to SSFC and other clubs to so very little. The point is that it is a local newspaper after all, and the local soccer scene should be better represented, and on a level comparable to Westoe RFC and SS Cricket Club. Perhaps as you say, the good graces of the paper need to be courted in order to hopefully encourage it to provide more coverage to help the local teams in their own community at large. Perhaps this can be acted upon .....we shall see.
As it seems that this 'debate' has been rumbling on for a few weeks now, let me take this opportunity to address the issue. I normally abstain from commenting on public forums as a rule, but seeing as people appear to prefer to comment on here rather than directly with me, either face to face, by email or on the phone, it seems this is the only way of defending myself and the Gazette.
On the subject of coverage, admittedly there has been not a lot written on Shields during the summer. This is because of 2 reasons - firstly, I have been off on the sick after having a knee operation, and secondly due to the fact that not a lot has been happening. Friendlies have begun, and we have tried to include reports when they have been provided. With regards yesterday, I received a call off Phil Reay with the result and scorers, and some information on tonight's game, which was all included in last night's paper. But these are friendlies - and seeing as you seem so happy to compare the football club's coverage with that of the cricket club and Westoe, tell me how many warm-up game reports for both these teams appear in the paper. Answer: zero.
Again on the subject of Westoe and the cricket side, as JW states these teams provide the Gazette with previews for Friday's paper and match reports for Monday's paper. This does indeed save us manpower, as we only have a 3-man sports desk - a Newcastle United writer, Sunderland writer/sub-editor and myself as sports editor. I look after the non-league coverage and speak regularly with Gary Steadman for preview pieces and reaction to games, while Phil Reay provides us with excellent match reports for Monday's paper, which are always included. They may not be verbatim as passtheball claims, but then neither are Clive Crickmer's Westoe reports or Jeff Marshall's cricket reports - they are all cut down if space is tight.
During the season, Westoe have a preview piece in on a Friday night and a match report on a Monday. Shields FC have exactly the same, along with any midweek news and games. During the summer, Shields CC have the same coverage.
The Gazette is in the business of selling newspapers. The majority of our sports readership comes from Newcastle and Sunderland fans living in the South Tyneside area (not just Shields) and therefore our coverage has to reflect this. We will always give a lot of coverage to these two high-profile teams, as well as trying to maintain a good coverage of grassroots football. I am a big fan of non-league football, having played at and managed teams at a level from Sunday morning up to Northern League in the past.
I would like to think that myself and the Gazette are both approachable. I have no problem with including information on the club that people give me. Passtheball himself has often supplied me with supporters club and season ticket details which have gone in the paper. Anyone who wishes to contact me can do so by calling into the offices, ringing 427 4807 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I have said, I have been off work but am now back in the office. I shall also be at tonight's game if anyone wants to discuss Shields's coverage in the Gazette.
It is now upto us a club both on the field and off to promote the good things about SSFC, these iam sure if passed onto the Gazette will be given a true reflection and promote the club in the readers eyes.
Good results, good management of events and even showing what SSFC can also offer to the public of South Shields is what the paper and ourselves want to be published.
Public promotion and respect for the club need to be earned, they do not just happen overnight.
Having somebody like Elvis on our side is a bonus and an affiliation that we can ill afford to lose.
It is not only Elvis' fault that SSFC is not promoted in the Gazette, but if we provide the info he can be a big help.
Up the Mariners
Quite agree. Match reports are being passed over and hopefully shall be used throughout the season in some way or another. If we can press (pardon the pun) the Gazette by offering enough good pieces, and by building good relations, then we will no doubt see greater coverage. If they can be used I would be more than happy to pass over some of the photos I hope to capture throughout the season. It will depend on whether they are deemed good enough and also depending on available space I suppose.It is not only Elvis' fault that SSFC is not promoted in the Gazette, but if we provide the info he can be a big help
I guess it is about trying to find solutions that will work for all concerned.