Web sites with anonymous comments denied university press passes

Brooke Ericson | Content Regulation | Quicklink | September 28, 2009

A recent story on a football game in the INDenver Times highlighted a Colorado University press policy that limits which Web sites are granted press passes to cover athetic games.

INDenver Times said it had turned off the online comments section on a story about Colorado University's win against the Wyoming Cowboys because the school will not give press passes to Web sites without a print or broadcast component unless they prohibit the posting of anonymous comments, the Denver Westword's news blog reported on Friday.

"Credentials are a privilege, not a right," Dave Plati, the school's director of sports information told the Westword.  "Why should I credential you if your name is Ralphie 2000 or something like that, and you won't tell us who's criticizing us? Comments were created for intelligent, back-and-forth banter. But when they turn into . . . insulting coaches and players' personal lives, that's when I draw the line. To me, that's not legitimate media."

Plati said the university's policy to issue press passes to TV stations and mainstream newspapers that allow anonymous comments was "a little bit of a gray area" but the school did so because the outlets had larger staffs to oversee and remove slanderous postings.