‘Times’ newspaper rapped for keeping Hillsborough off front page

The Times newspaper has said it “made a mistake” by not including coverage of the Hillsborough inquests on the front page of its first edition.

The paper faced criticism, along with its sister paper The Sun, for not featuring on its front page the story that an inquest jury had ruled that 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 tragedy were unlawfully killed.

The Guardian reported that mutiny by the Times’ sports desk and an overwhelmingly negative reaction on social media prompted the paper to change its front page on Tuesday night

Tony Barrett, Merseyside football writer for the Times, won praise online yesterday after he apologised for his paper’s failure to cover the story. He later flew to Madrid with the Liverpool team.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the paper said: “The Times led with Hillsborough coverage on all our digital editions throughout the day.

“This morning we have covered it extensively in the paper with two spreads, the back page, a top leader, and an interactive on the victims.

“We made a mistake with the front page of our first edition, and we fixed it for the second edition.”

A photo of the families outside the Warrington courtroom appeared on the front of later editions of The Times, along with a trailer for its coverage which ran to several pages, including an editorial comment.

The Sun came in for particular criticism, having run a front page story proclaiming to tell “The Truth” four days after the 1989 disaster.

Despite not covering the verdict of the two-year inquest on the front page, which cleared the fans of any fault, the paper ran a double-page spread on the outcome, and covered it in its main leader. The Sun’s leader yesterday stated that, after 27 years, the “Hillsborough families finally have their first measure of justice”.

It added:

“We apologised prominently 12 years ago, again four years ago on the front page, and do so unreservedly again now.”

Kelvin MacKenzie, the paper’s former editor who oversaw the story published in 1989 blaming fans, insisted he had been “duped”.

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