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University Proposes Unreasonably Restrictive Rules for Sports Coverage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Ray Marcano, SPJ president, 937/225-2323 or email@example.com; Al Cross, SPJ president-elect, 502/875-5136 x14
INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Oregon's proposed rules for sports coverage go too far and would block the media's constitutional right to gather and report news, says the Society of Professional Journalists in concert with other media organizations.
The University of Oregon proposed last week that television broadcasters could air no more than 20 seconds of game highlights for 48 hours after a game, 30 seconds of highlights for a week after the game and no video highlights from then on. The university also wants to limit video interviews of coaches and athletes and choose which journalists are granted interviews by reserving the right to lift university coverage restrictions at the university's sole discretion and without justification.
SPJ joined The Radio-Television News Directors Association and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today in a letter voicing concern about the university's proposed regulations.
"No one should attempt to place restrictions on how the press does its job or try to impose guidelines that impact reporting and, in essence, select which journalists get to report the news," said SPJ President Ray Marcano, an assistant managing editor at the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. "These restrictions fly in the face of the First Amendment, and we urge the university to abandon these restrictive procedures."
SPJ has taken other strong stances against limiting coverage of sporting events. In April, the Society issued a statement strongly opposing Major League Baseball's attempt to limit coverage through its credentialing process. SPJ views such attempts to limit coverage as unconstitutional limitations on the media and believes such harsh limitations make complete and meaningful coverage impossible to produce.
"This is something that must be nipped in the bud," said SPJ President-Elect Al Cross, political writer and columnist for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. "It's particularly objectionable for a public institution to attempt to impose these kinds of restrictions."
A complete copy of the letter on behalf of the journalism organizations can be found below: