Sports reporting is supposed to be fun, right? Of course it is. Unless you happen to be the Georgia Tech Sports Information department. In that case, you view sports reporters as the enemy.
It’s been that way for years. And it’s a sharp contrast to the University of Georgia’s sports information folks. At UGA, they’ve figured out that sports reporters show up largely to publicize (and to a great degree, glorify) the sports programs of that particular institution. At North Avenue, the goal seems to be to restrict and deny access.
WXIA’s Fred Kalil posted this in his blog prior to Tech’s first game. (Kalil doesn’t seem to grasp that in the blogosphere, ALL CAPS equals screaming. It’s OK. Kalil is old-school. Wire service teletypes used to print broadcast copy in all caps. So did TV folks, surmising that the larger ALL CAPS letters are easier to read on scripts.)
IT’S THE SAME OLD STORY AT GEORGIA TECH, WE TRY TO COVER THE TEAM AND THEY FIND MORE AND MORE WAYS TO KEEP US AWAY. COACH PAUL JOHNSON REFUSES TO HAVE PLAYERS APPEAR AT THE WEEKLY MEDIA LUNCHEON, HE ONLY ALLOWS PLAYER INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE… IT’S FUNNY THAT AT GEORGIA, THE NUMBER 1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY SEEMS TO ALWAYS GO THE EXTRA MILE TO ACCOMODATE THE MEDIA. THEIR LONGTIME MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR, NOW ASSOCIATE ATHLETICS DIRECTOR, CLAUDE FELTON GOES OUT OF HIS WAY TO MAKE THE PRESS FEEL WELCOME. IT SEEMS GEORGIA TECH JUST DOES THE OPPOSITE. TECH FANS PLEASE KNOW THAT WE ARE TRYING TO COVER YOUR TEAM.
Aside from restricting access to newsworthy players, Kalil complains that Tech won’t accomodate TV trucks, which need accessible temporary parking in order to set up live shots.
It’s unclear why Georgia Tech has adopted a routinely adversarial stance. It may be a “familiarity breeds contempt” relationship with the Atlanta media, which has to make a 150 mile roundtrip to visit Athens. Yet numerous metro Atlanta police departments and government agencies manage to sustain civil relations with their hometown media.
Georgia Tech is only hurting itself. When it treats the media like the enemy, the suspicion automatically becomes mutual. That means this: If something controversial happens at the University of Georgia— and with frequent player arrests, it happens often— the UGA sports information folks can use a bank of accumulated good will to try to spin the story to say something other than “hang ’em high.” Tech’s bank is always mostly empty.
Go Jackets. Go figure.