Campaign launched against ‘amateur’ match reporters

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to rid sports match reporting of non-journalists.

Says a letter being sent to newspaper sports editors, ‘Kick the Amateurs into Touch’ aims “to maximise the number of real journalists reporting on sporting events, particularly football matches”.

The campaign has been set up by the Scotland division of the National Union of Journalists.

It says: “The campaign has a number of aims: It is an attempt to stop falling standards in the Scottish press through the creeping menace of ‘citizen journalists’.

“At a time when industry cuts are affecting professional journalists, we do not want to see amateur scribes covering games that could be done by qualified staff or freelance members of our profession.

“It is a scandal when journalists lose work and are then replaced by non-hacks, many with no professional training or qualifications.

“Every press box this season has had more than a fair share of policemen and teachers acting as ‘fans with lap-tops’ and it is galling to see living standards of journalists falling when it can be avoided by a simple commission to cover a game.”

Continues the NUJ: “The union recognises the pressures every desk and editor is under to cut costs but where an event is being covered anyway, we just ask you to consider using a professional journalist. The regular professionals who are still asked to cover games are sick of working next to the growing army of amateurs. They are worried about falling editorial standards and their livelihood driven down by cheap labour or people with second jobs.

“This [football] season is almost over but plans need to be made to handle the fixtures from August and we hope you can help us raise industry standards and ethics by commissioning proper freelance reporters and photographers.”