CWC STATEMENT ON REPORTERS' NETWORK
Following ECB cut-backs to coverage of domestic cricket, and the governing body's confirmation of plans for the 2021 Reporters’ Network so far, CWC has issued the following statement:
The Cricket Writers’ Club welcomes the commitment that has now been made by the ECB to ensure an eye-witness reporter will be present at every LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast match as part of the ECB Reporters’ Network – the agency style set-up that provides written-word coverage of domestic cricket to local, regional and national media outlets.
Reporters’ Network coverage of the equivalent women’s competitions, the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, and Regional T20 is yet to be confirmed. CWC fervently hopes ECB will find and allocate the funds needed (estimated £5000 total) to ensure equality of coverage of these competitions, with eye witness reporters at every game as a fully integrated part of the Network, as per the men’s. It is also hoped that wordage provided will match the men’s, given the new professional status of the women’s domestic game.
Whilst recognising the progress made, CWC remains disappointed that there is no current plan for the Reporters’ Network to cover the Royal London Cup with eye-witness reporters at every game. The importance of eye-witness reportage is laid out at in CWC’s Open Letter of 11th March. Only one match per day will be covered by a reporter on location, with a daily round up of the rest.
After match reports were originally cut from 600 words plus quotes to 180-300 words plus quotes, reports are now confirmed at 400 words plus quotes for the men’s competitions above.
As well as quotes at the end of every match, there is a welcome return to reporters additionally filing quotes at the end of every day’s play in the Championship as in previous years, thus giving players and coaches a voice, and giving media outlets the opportunity to create lead stories.
The service does remain reduced compared to previous years:
- online text blogs and live broadcasts will feel the loss of County Championship lunch and tea updates that were distributed into newsrooms
- no feature articles will be provided
- all match reports will be shorter
CWC is pleased however that the ECB has taken on board feedback from the media on its value and use of the Network, as sought and collated by the club. It remains a regret that ECB failed to consult with CWC and users of the Network prior to deciding initial cut backs, and we had hoped a collaborative solution could be found to ensure full coverage of all competitions. We hope there is still scope for this from stakeholders within the game, if ECB are unable to fund directly themselves. The Network plays such a vital role in ensuring the widespread visibility of the ECB’s own domestic game.
The Reporters’ Network has thrived in no small part due to a healthy consultative relationship between ECB and CWC ever since the club helped to form the Network in 2014. We hope to move forward in such a way, with the best interests of the game at heart.
CWC Chair Alison Mitchell, Lead Secretary Will Macpherson and the Cricket Writers’ Club Committee