Interesting article on Westword today about CU's bunker mentality regarding press access to the team.
According to Dave Plati, CU's director of sports information, the university will not provide press passes to websites lacking a print or broadcast component unless they disallow pseudonymous posts or anonymous comments -- an absolutely standard function in the Internet age.
The article says the policy has been in place for about a decade and was instituted after CU was sued by a website representative, which is something I wasn't aware of. I can understand the need to protect against litigation - defending lawsuits is the last place I want to see our limited dollars going right now - but I find it hilarious that a site like The Ralphie Report would never get press access while sites like the Denver Post get unrestricted access.
Plati acknowledges that TV stations and newspapers like the Denver Post allow anonymous comments on their sites, creating what he calls "a little bit of a gray area" as far as CU's credentialing policy is concerned. But at least staffers there all use their real names when they write, and he feels most of the operations take greater care in overseeing and filtering comments, to make sure nothing that's slanderous or simply too outrageous stays online for long. Of course, "even if it was only up for five minutes, you never know how many people saw it or commented on it before it was taken down," he notes. But it's better than nothing, in his view.
The comments on the Post website are usually offensive, uninformed, and just plain not worth reading. Yes, they'll delete comments that cross the line (whatever they deem that to be), but you'll never find the respectful discussion between passionate, thoughtful fans that's the norm on sites like The Ralphie Report.
Now, there are undoubtedly other fan sites out there that set the bar lower and maybe shouldn't be granted access, and it could definitely be tough to formulate a more inclusive policy while still weeding out the junk sites. But I think CU should at least be thinking about ways to open up access. Technology is rapidly changing the media landscape, and CU's policies will have to catch up sooner or later. In my opinion it's better to stay ahead of the curve and encourage fan participation as much as possible, especially while our athletic programs continue to struggle.