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April 3, 2013

Crawley News reporter banned from speaking to local football club’s manager and players

By William Turvill

A Crawley News reporter has been banned from speaking to the town football club’s manager and his players.

Kaylee Seckington is still allowed to attend matches but the newspaper’s efforts to resolve the situation have been unsuccessful after manager Richie Barker was unhappy with two headlines from last month.

The News has said it will not be changing its Crawley Town reporter and has offered her its “full backing”. It believes the coverage was “fair and accurate”.

It pointed out in an editorial that the headlines, which offended manager Richie Barker, were not written by Seckington.

This is the second time the reporter has been banned from speaking to the manager and players. On the previous occasion it was resolved with a meeting at the club.

The first ban was put in place after she reported that former manager Steve Evans was interested in signing Sergio Torres.

Editor Andy Worden said: "We believe our coverage throughout Richie Barker's reign has been fair, balanced and accurate.

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"We would be failing in our duty to fans if we only covered stories that the manager wanted to see in the paper. We hope the club will eventually see sense and lift the ban as it is the fans and people of Crawley this affects."

The newspaper was informed of the decision by media manager Bruce Talbot.

The paper report him as saying in an email: "Once again, Richie is extremely disappointed with your coverage in this week's edition of the News and in particular two stories.

"On the back page the headline is 'We must show more ambition' in quotes, yet at no point in your story does he say that.

"The closest is 'I know I have ambition, I hope the club have ambition too, that is the reason I came here'.

"On page 54 the headline is 'Crawley won't resort to lumping it like Evans did'.

"Richie totally refutes that he directly criticised the style of play of Steve Evans."

He added: "Richie has asked me to tell you that neither he, his staff or the players will be available for comment to you in the future."

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