In reading through the minutes of Monday night’s Fans’ Forum meeting, it doesn’t seem there will be any change in the relationship of the club to the banned local media journalists any time soon.
Lee Charnley – Managing Director attended the meeting
We had hoped the ban on the local Journalist would be lifted soon, since the ban has been in effect almost exactly one year.
But from comments made during the forum meeting, which took place in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite at St. James’ Park, that doesn’t look like it will be the case.
Here are some extracts from the minutes related to stories in the press and journalists in general.
Gordon Gilchrist – Over-65s Representative – suggested that Newcastle United’s relationships with “certain press” was resulting in stories being fabricated or not being checked for accuracy, leading to incorrect rumours circulating.
Lee Marshall – PR and Supporter Liaison Manager – explained that the Fans Forum was an opportunity for members to quiz the club on any issues on behalf of all supporters, as well as being the club’s opportunity to redress the balance with facts. All questions and answers are published on the club’s website for the wider fan base.
The club explained that it was simply not feasible for the club to proactively refute every piece of incorrect information written about players or club business.
It was explained that such inaccuracies or untruths are far more frequently ignored by the club, while in cases where stories were patently untrue, media outlets had been subject to bans.
Brian Parkin – Gallowgate Stand Representative – suggested that all clubs have to deal with inaccurate stories in the media.
The club explained that all football clubs deal with such issues in different ways. It was explained that bans are not issued by the club to effect editorial control when things aren’t positive; they are a response to stories that are factually incorrect and are potentially damaging.
Vishal Vedhara – Equality Representative – outlined questions for the club which had arisen in the media, and requested it was minuted that the questions were referenced.
Lee Marshal encouraged Vishal Vedhara to ask questions which were important to him and fellow supporters, rather than those devised by an individual journalist or media outlet.
The club underlined that representatives were present to answer all fans’ questions and to discuss the club face-to-face rather than specifically servicing a media agenda.
Vishal Vedhara stated that Forum members were unfortunately targets for criticism in addition to club staff, which the club acknowledged.
It’s true that every football club has to deal with stories that are untrue and even damaging to the club, but there are not too many clubs who have banned journalists – especially the local ones who report every day on what’s happening at the club.
The sooner this is put right the better it will be for everybody concerned.
Did I ever say life was too short to bear grudges?
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