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School, MLB hinder journalists' ability to get sports stories

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    NMU         ROUNDUP         Newsgathering         Oct 9, 2001    

School, MLB hinder journalists’ ability to get sports stories

  • Sports writers express concerns with unique access for Virginia Tech’s football coach’s Web Site and Major League Baseball’s restrictions for televising Bonds’ home runs.

Access requirements recently imposed by Major League Baseball and Virginia Tech University irked sports writers who covered Barry Bonds’ home run trek and Hokies football.

Reporters from the Roanoke Times and the Richmond Times-Dispatch are frustrated over the lack of access they are getting to the Virginia Tech football team. They complained to David Chambers, the university’s senior athletic director, that the Internet site — the official Web Site of Frank Beamer, the Hokies head football coach — is getting breaking news that they aren’t receiving until several days later.

Chambers acknowledged to The Virginian-Pilot that there is a problem. He said all primary information on Virginia Tech football should be released by the sports information office.

The Virginian-Pilot also wrote that journalists are barred from locker rooms, while sportscasters for have access to the locker rooms and complete pre-game access to the Hokies.

Beamer told the Virginian-Pilot that he does not see this as an issue because all practices are open to the media, and he and his coaches, players and training staff are available for interviews after every practice.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball imposed restrictions on the airing of San Francisco Giants games as Barry Bonds closed in on the single-season home run record. Baseball officials restricted media partners ESPN, Fox, TBS and their affiliates to airing only 60-second taped highlights for Bonds’ record-tying 70th home run. Bonds tied Mark McGwire’s former record on Oct. 4 and hit three more before the close of the season.

The restrictions stated that for the record-breaking home run, other news entities were permitted to air up to 60 seconds of taped highlights, but live cut-ins were not permitted.


© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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