A football journalist whose role was made redundant is striking out on his own covering Huddersfield Town.
Steven Chicken had been the Town reporter for the Huddersfield Examiner and Yorkshire Live since 2019 but his job was axed as part of cost-cutting by the Examiner’s parent company Reach PLC.
The Examiner and Yorkshire Live will no longer have a specialist Town reporter and Steven is to continue covering the club via his own venture, We Are Terriers, a paid-for service on the Substack platform.
Steven will continue his popular podcast which he produces with Opta analyst David Hartrick, and will offer at least two pieces of quality written content every week.
The subscription service, which costs £5 a month, was launched last Friday and sign-ups have already exceeded Steven’s expectations.
“We’re incredibly encouraged by the response so far,” said Steven. “In all honesty it was more than a bit nerve-wracking not knowing whether this would be something I had to give up.
“Ultimately, it’s a job for me and I need to pay the bills, to say nothing of the cost of travelling to and from games, equipment costs, and so on.
“But I’m delighted that the backing we’ve had from the fans and the support from the club means it’s looking viable for us.
“Now we just want to get the word out and let people know we’re doing it so they know the coverage is still there if they want it!”
Steven added: “I spent four and a half happy years at the Examiner and will always be grateful that they gave me my first full-time football writing gig.
“As anyone who has covered a club full-time will know, even if you’re coming in as a neutral, that club does get into your blood.
“As such I was always minded to keep my hand in covering Town if and when this day ever came – so We Are Terriers has been at the back of my mind for a good while.
“In particular, we wanted to keep the podcast going. I inherited the hosting duties on the podcast Ooh To Be A… from Raj Bains and Jim Chisem when I joined the Examiner and was chuffed to bits when Opta’s David Hartrick accepted the offer to become my co-host back in 2019.
“If Town fans ever come up to me or Dave in the street or at the stadium, it’s always the podcast they want to talk about, so we knew we had a really loyal audience there that might stick with us if we ever went independent with it.
“But my bread and butter is the writing side of things, and it was fairly evident there was an appetite there for that more detailed, analytical and opinionated yet neutral coverage of Town, which Championship clubs aren’t really going to get on a day-to-day basis anywhere except traditionally the local paper and, more recently, in online fan media.
“Hopefully people still want that from me even if they’re getting it in a different place.”
Traditional media publishers hit by falling newspaper sales and a collapse in print advertising revenue have tried to transfer revenues online but now page views are in decline too which explains why publishing companies are shedding hundreds of jobs.
Reach PLC is cutting 450 jobs in the run-up to Christmas, 320 of them editorial posts.
Steven added: “We think £5 a month for two pieces of quality content every week and a weekly podcast throughout the season is a really good offering for everyone.
“It’s very affordable compared with the cost of buying a paper (the cover price of the Examiner totals £10.60 per WEEK) and I think people are now used to backing podcasts they’re particularly invested in.
“It’s all delivered directly to people’s email as well as being available at weareterriers.substack.com – and best of all there’s no adverts cluttering up the page or the airwaves, besides us asking people to subscribe or refer a friend.
“Most of all, I think it’s valuable to both the fans and the club (though not necessarily always in the same ways!) to have a journalist in the middle to help those lines of communication, and it would be a shame to lose that.”
To support Steven sign up HERE