I was chatting with a friend who advises an East Coast university newspaper this morning about college sports journalism education. He mentioned the uncertainty students have about interviewing student-athletes. They ask him questions, such as: “Is it legal to go up and interview a player away from the field?” “Do reporters need to go through the sports information director?” “Is it OK to ask an athlete questions in class?”
Originally published June 2012
A few thoughts on sports information directors after the national CoSIDA conference in St. Louis this week.
1. SIDs are not journalists’ enemies. Sure, some SIDs try to ‘control’ everything from telling journalists when they can speak with athletes to sitting in on interviews (an egregiously bad move, btw, SIDs – unless, of course, you want to create negativity around your program. An open approach is always best, as several media consultants mentioned at the conference). But these power freaks are the exception, much like a sports journalist who demands tickets to games or asks for autographs. SIDs are there to help. Who else is going to send you notes about games, facilitate interviews, and offer news tips? There’s no doubt the SID advocates a point of view – guarding the university’s reputation – but that does not mean this person is constantly lying. Build a professional relationship so you both can speak candidly, even if it’s off the record at times.