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Henry Winter made redundant from The Times as Mail sports journalists await restructure



The Mail has told its sports desk to expect “significant restructuring” as its digital transition continues.

On the same day, Times star sports journalist Henry Winter announced he has been made redundant after 35 years covering football and eight years at the newspaper.

On Wednesday Mail Newspapers global publisher of sport Lee Clayton told staff, in a memo seen by Press Gazette, that there need to be “changes in how we are set up as a desk with a digital team leading the commissioning process, supported by newspaper experts who can publish print editions to tight deadlines.

“With that in mind, we will be embarking on a significant restructuring of the department over the coming weeks.”

Clayton, who has led the Mail Sport team since January last year, said this process will leave them “far better prepared for the road ahead and an all-conquering future for Mail Sport”.

He said Mail+ subscriptions, through which people can pay to receive a small amount of premium paywalled content on the Mail Online website, are “exceeding expectations” and said this means they “need to focus more and more of our efforts on producing high-quality online content readers can’t find anywhere else”.

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This continued digital evolution comes although the Mail’s sports departments have already been working together to some extent across print and online since around 2019.

Last year four senior sports journalists were made redundant from the Mail on Sunday, including chief football correspondent Rob Draper, sports editor Mike Richards and chief sports news correspondent Nick Harris.

It followed other Mail on Sunday cuts as part of streamlining of the weekly title with the Daily Mail operation.

Meanwhile at The Times chief football writer Winter announced his departure on Wednesday, explaining he had been made redundant.

Winter is the current Football Journalist of the Year at the British Sports Journalism Awards, where the judges said last month he “has a unique connection to his readership and football fans” and is a “voice of genuine authority and respected by those in the game”.

They added: “His interview with Jenni Hicks, who lost two daughters in the Hillsborough tragedy, was moving, emotional and contained harrowing details in an incredibly powerful piece of writing.”

Winter is also the most recent Writer of the Year at the Football Supporters’ Association Awards.

His authority is long-held: in 2010 he was voted Britain’s top sports journalist in a Press Gazette poll of journalists and the general public. At the time he was at The Telegraph, where he worked for more than 20 years.

Last year Winter told Durham student newspaper Palatinate he loves the “unpredictability” of his job: “I couldn’t do a 9-5. I want to be wandering around the world, going to World Cups, meeting people.”

Sports journalists at national newspapers have already faced a difficult six months.

As well as the Mail on Sunday redundancies, sports desks have shrunk at The Scotsman, the Daily Record and the Scottish Daily Mail as a result of cuts.

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