Thursday, June 28, 2007

How fast can you backpedal?

Rarely does the NCAA admit to a mistake, but it's pretty much waved the white flag in the recent flap over ejecting a blogger from a recent college baseball game in Louisville. The NCAA has issued a "clarifying statement" on its actions, saying that the blogger was not ejected for blogging, but for violating an NCAA rule on live play by play. The statement doesn't really clear up anything and somehow manages to make the NCAA seem even more archaic and paranoid than usual. Back in the days when I was covering NCAA tournament basketball for local television, officials wouldn't even let us shoot a standup on the court during warmups (and we were a CBS affiliate). The reaction from the blogworld against the NCAA was predictably harsh.

The bigger issue is blogging and the rules are still being written on the relationship between blogging and journalism. Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer and I just completed a survey study of sports journalist-bloggers at TV, radio and newspaper outlets across the country, and there's still a lot of confusion out there regarding how to blog, why to blog and what benefit the blogging has for the media outlet.

Another interesting issue is how old institutions react to new media. By dropping all its advertisements a few years ago the Masters tournament showed us that an old dog can learn new tricks. Hopefully the NCAA is willing to learn a few as well.


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