News Corp Australia has undertaken a major restructuring of its sports offerings in recent months, with print reporters across the country redeployed to specialist sports newsrooms, as well as to the recently launched NCA NewsWire
. The changes are designed to reduce editorial duplication and streamline the production of the company's sports news and content.
Enter the National Sports Newsroom: a centralised hub, covering all sports for the metropolitan and state-based mastheads, specifically The Daily Telegraph
, The Courier-Mail
, the Herald Sun
and The Advertiser
in Adelaide. The new outfit has gathered existing sports reporters from the mastheads and split them into dedicated "Teams" with very specific focuses: AFL, Rugby League / NRL, Cricket and other non-football code sports (tennis, soccer, motorsports, netball and combat sports), Racing and a specialist Digital Amplification Team to make all their work look its best online.
Shopping for news
Sports Editors and a small team will still be based at each of the metro mastheads, and are now able to select stories produced by the National Sports Newsroom to run in their papers and on their websites. National Sports Editor Matt Kitchin (pictured) described his new hub as a premium "supermarket", offering the best sports coverage across the nation for News Corp titles to select for their audiences.
"Each paper has Sports Editors who come shopping at our supermarket to pick what's relevant for their publication," he said. "Those guys still have a major voice in the process though, they're in our weekly meetings and tell us what's happening on the ground in their state".
In addition, News Corp's regional and local titles also have access to the National Sports Newsroom's news list, as do news.com.au
and Fox Sports.
National Racing Newsroom is off and racing
With the Spring Racing Carnival right around the corner, there seemed no better time for Matt to launch the final pillar of his stable: the National Racing Newsroom. The newsroom will provide exclusive racing tips, breaking news, trackside interviews and analysis. The team's National Racing Editor, Stephen Brassel (pictured), joins News Corp from Racenet
, along with five other reporters from the premium racing website, which was purchased by News Corp in late 2018.
Bringing decades of industry experience with him to the job, Stephen told Telum Media the decision to launch a dedicated racing newsroom was the obvious move. "The News Corp mastheads are now complemented by the digital expertise and breadth of coverage that Racenet
delivers," he said. "We're using the nation's best racing journalists and pushing their stories out across the entire range of News Corp print publications, along with all the digital platforms and, of course, Racenet
. Further to that, we have Punters.com.au
, which is also part of the stable."
With the seasoned Racenet
team, which includes the likes of Ben Dorries and Clinton Payne joining high-profile racing names in Ray Thomas and Leo Schlink, Stephen said the 14-strong team of reporters are well-placed to cover all aspects of the sport, while also delivering "a raft of rich new content". "We have a team of senior racing reporters who will concentrate on broader issues, the major investigations and quality content, and now they'll also have the support of a bigger team to enrich the reader experience, so we can now delve much deeper, while still delivering the tips, analysis and day-to-day news the punters want," he said.
When asked why News Corp would create an entirely fresh newsroom, Stephen's answer was simple. "What we've done here is combine the digital power and reach of Racenet
with the expertise of our masthead reporters under one umbrella," he said. "We now have a team of racing reporters, based around the nation, who can tell stories through the one funnel and we can disseminate those stories across all platforms, both print and digitally - it makes perfect sense." The team's main focus will remain firmly on horse racing, with news from greyhound and harness racing also featured, as required.
While the National Racing Newsroom has only been operating for four days, Stephen said they are already witnessing promising results. "Our digital engagement on racing stories has already lifted across the network and while it is early days, the signs have been extremely positive and the team has come together seamlessly. We all know each other from around the tracks, so it's just about getting used to the new workflow and systems," he said. "But so far, it has been full steam ahead and there's a real air of excitement."
Like all National Sports Newsroom content, the racing team's stories will be made available to the entire News Corp Network, for use in print and digital publications.
Supercharging sports news
The National Sports Newsroom is also supported by a Digital Amplification Team, run by Emily Benammar (pictuerd). She said the changes to News Corp's sports network have come at a pivotal moment for Australian media. "The pandemic has forced us into really strange times, and this new brand is making sure we deliver those big stories across all states," Emily said.
For Emily, heading up the National Sports Newsroom's digital arm has been an exciting new challenge. "We're listening to our audience and making decisions based on that data, not from what we think they should be reading," she said. "My team is bringing to life all that great sports journalism that's being done across the country and all signs are pointing towards a really successful launch".
But wait, there's more
Running in tandem with the National Sports Newsroom is the sports team at the NCA NewsWire
, which was launched in June this year.
The small but highly experienced team of newswire sport reporters, run by Sports Editor Russell Gould, provide breaking sports news to the newswire service, which is picked up by all of News Corp's digital assets and print mastheads. "We cover news across an array of sports, from AFL and NRL through to cricket, rugby, the A-League, netball, basketball, motorsport, tennis and golf," he said. "Live sport coverage is also a major component of the NewsWire
using a growing list of contributors around Australia".
With Russell currently based in Victoria, Marco Monteverde reporting from Queensland, and Matt Logue in NSW, the NewsWire
team are covering all the sporting bases.