Media access and the 'Net

A fantastic story in today’s Boston Globe looks at many of the most important issues in the media’s ongoing squabble with major sports entities over Internet reporting.

Here’s the crux: Before the Internet, sports organizations and media outlets weren’t competitors. The sports teams played the games and ran the teams, the media reported, and things were fairly simple.

Now, however, major sports leagues, and the NCAA, have become media entities themselves. The NFL this year has insituted a policy limiting web sites to just 45 seconds of live video from team practices per day. That limit protects the NFL’s own web site,, which runs more video.

The problem is this — who is going to cover the New England Patriots more professionally and objectively? The Boston Globe, or the Patriots’ own web site?

It’s very clear. In one telling quote, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “News sites are looking at the (NFL) video as a business opportunity. I don’t believe it’s about news coverage.”

That pretty well sums up what happens when people become blind to anything but the corporate mindset.

I’ll type this slowly, so Aiello and any who agree with him can get it.

News coverage is our business.

The NFL can’t cover itself, period. Same for every other major sports entity. And there are grave questions over outlets who pay rights fees. By that outlay of cash, they have a vested interest in the success of the league, and their objectivity by definition must come into question.

It’s an issue that will keep being debated in media circles. College conferences have instituted their own web limits for the coming season.


8 thoughts on “Media access and the 'Net

  1. Corporate mindset is right.The NFL wants it both ways: “you can report here(the paper), but you can’t report there(the website)”.So maybe they should tie web media rights to traditional media rights and make the league decide…if you want to act as media and report yourself, that’s fine, but no newspapers or magazines or tv channels are allowed to cover the NFL. Let’s see how the league likes that idea.Otherwise, coverage is fair game for all medium of media.Of course, so many media organizations are just greedy corporations themselves. I could see the above scenario happening and the big media would just pay for coverage rights, further consolidating readership, and the media itself, by squeezing out smaller, independent papers who can’t afford to show scores or standings.Just thinking out loud. Good post Mr. Crawford.

  2. I also want to say that these are the articles that should be on the front page of newspapers.The issues that are important, that affect everyone. It’s really not a sports issue, it’s a constitutional issue in the electronic age.Instead, the news of import is buried in a blog while the front page “reports” on car crashes, Elvis, and the home of the week.

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