The old and the new faces of Sports Journalism clashed at last night's Journalism leaders forum at the University of Central Lancs.The old was represented by Mihir Bose,Sports Editor with the BBC and with many years experience of sports journalism.The new was Phil Townsend, Director of Communications for Manchester United whose previous incarnation was as Press Officer to the Sports Minister.
What Mihir represented were the day's long gone when sport stayed on the back page and the journalists job ended with the final whistle.What Phil represented is the new power of sport in dictating the content that we read,of controlling media access and of recognising that sport in itself is big business so why should independent news organisations get the benefits.
The highlight of the evening was Mahir's comment that Sir Alec Ferguson didn't need any lessons in spin,in fact he could have even given a better lesson that Alstair Campbell on how to spin the back pages
It is a dangerous route to take.One question that kept cropping up was that of impartiality.If clubs control the output how can the public be given access to a proper debate? In this sense though is it any different to politics and the rise of the Alistair Campbells of this world?
It was fitting that at the end the final question came from a journalist who pointed out that sport was not just about football but that there were other sports to consider.