Bradley’s Media Buzz: SEC gets grabby; Vick on “60 Minutes”

Installing a window on football highlights

This might fall under the heading of One Of Those Media Furors That Doesn’t Interest The General Public, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll interest you soon enough. According to Jason Morton of the Tuscaloosa News, the SEC has just distributed to its 12 member institutions a new media policy that, if indeed enacted, will seriously inhibit what the media can do.

The biggest restriction seems — I say “seems” because nobody is yet sure what it all means — to be on video from football games. Morton reports that the policy will limit “news stations to clips of no longer than three minutes and [will allow] highlights for only 72 hours after the conclusion of a game.” Meaning: If WSB or WAGA or WXIA or WGCL wanted to show a replay of, say, A.J. Green catching the winning touchdown pass against South Carolina on Sept. 19, 2009 — the game will be played Sept. 13 — those stations couldn’t do it.

Also: No “bearer” of a media credential can post video or audio highlights online, and this would seem — again, I say “seem” — to include postgame press conferences, which I’ve taken to doing from other events via my AJC-issued BlackBerry Storm, as well as games.

And then this (and you knew “this” was coming): “No bearer may disseminate in any form a ‘real-time’ description of the event. Periodic updates of scores, statistics or other descriptions of the event throughout the competition are acceptable. Bearer agrees that the determination of whether a blog is a real-time description or transmission shall be made by the SEC in its sole discretion.”

So what does this mean? In the NCAA tournament, a blogger is limited to six updates per half. (I know because I shattered that restriction — unknowingly, I swear! — from the Georgia-Xavier game in March 2007. The SEC has levied no such number. Instead it’s leaving it up to, shockingly enough, the SEC itself to decide, perhaps on a case-by-case basis, perhaps even on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Bottom line: Twittered updates would seem to be at real risk, and so would live blogs, which I can tell you we at AJC.com were fully intending to do from Georgia games. (We’ve done them before, as you know.)

But there’s also a weird clause in the policy — you can read the PDF of the whole thing, as supplied by the Tuscaloosa News, by going here — that restricts credentials to “full-time salaried employee[s]” of “accredited media institution[s}." Some bloggers are part-timers. Some game coverage is provided by stringers. Does that mean they don't get credentialed any longer?

The idea is to push eyeballs -- media buzz phrase -- to ESPN and CBS, which have paid upward of $3 billion for the rights to air SEC football, and to the SEC's own new digital network, which hasn't yet launched but is expected to have both free and for-pay-only components. And that would seem to fall under the heading of Jack Kent Cooke's famous Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

A UGA press conference: Am I allowed to use this picture? (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

A Georgia press conference: Am I even allowed to use this picture or what? (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Reaction to the policy, which hasn’t yet been formally announced, is still in its formative stages, but Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News writes: “It is part of a continuing trend of restrictions and limitations on legitimate news outlets who seek to cover SEC football for everyone from loyal fans to general-interest readers to the taxpayers who are footing the bill at 11 of the 12 SEC institutions.” And the News offers an editorial in which the O-word — “Orwellian” — is deployed.

From Franz Beard of Gator Country: “This new announcement that the SEC will no longer permit video highlights of its football games to be shown anywhere but on its new pay to view website is pure greed. If you aren’t incensed, then you should be.” (Interestingly enough, Gator County is affiliated with ESPN.)

From Hooper at Rocky Top Talk: “Those being squeezed out are anybody else who would cover the event in a media fashion, which initially screams ‘bloggers’ but will ultimately hurt small-market media far more than it would ever hurt a blog.”

Me, I’d work up a good lather except for one thing: I see no way the SEC can ever enforce this policy. Court challenges will come from all manner of media outlets, both old and new, and is that the way commissioner Mike Slive wants his conference to be presented — not as the richest and grandest of all leagues but as the most litigious? I think not.

But stay tuned. The brouhaha has only begun to brew. (Or “brou,” as the case may be.)

Why hasn’t Vick talked yet? Because he’s waiting for James Brown

Tucked into Paul Newberry’s Associated Press account of Michael Vick’s quick visit to Decatur on behalf of the Humane Society was this nugget: “The quarterback is apparently planning to do his first major interview since completing a 23-month prison sentence with the CBS news magazine ‘60 Minutes,’ which sent a three-person crew to film the event.”

And I can tell you that “60 Minutes” has long been tracking Vick. I know because I got a call in the press box at Coors Field on the off-day of the 2007 World Series from a “60 Minutes” producer/reporter asking about Vick: What kind of guy was he, et cetera. I figured Morley or Leslie would have had a jailhouse sitdown with Vick, but apparently there are limits to what even the tick-tick-tick folks can do.

Oh, and in a continuation of today’s shackle-the-media theme, Newberry noted in his story: “The AP was barred from entering [the New Life Community Center] and the windows were covered to prevent anyone from looking inside. Eventually, police were called, and all media were forced to stand on a sidewalk in front of the complex.”

Update: CBS announced Monday that Vick will indeed appear on “60 Minutes” this Sunday night. He sat for an interview, according to the network, with James Brown in Virginia on Monday. Also interviewed, according to the CBS release, will be Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society and Tony Dungy, who visited Vick in prison.

197 comments Add your comment

Saint Simons

August 10th, 2009
9:54 am

((((( 45 42 ))))) hahahahahaha

Paul H

August 10th, 2009
9:57 am

So if I’m reading this correct, the fans will be limited on where we can catch highlights, post game interviews, etc? In this age of media, this seems very archaic.

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:01 am

At a time when fans have become accustomed to more and more access, this would seem an odd move by the SEC.

Tired of Dumb Vick Fans and Glad Matt Ryan is Here

August 10th, 2009
10:05 am

The SEC is going overboard a bit Mark. People love to get information and people can get it everywhere anyway.

I hope 60 minutes shows this video of Vick where he is refers to rapper Young Jeezy as his “N” word talking about helping Jezzy promote his Thug Motivation 103 album for his “America’s Most Wanted Tour.

What a fool! I hope Goddell gets this and gives him the full 6 game suspension. Doesn’t look like he’s changed one bit to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJOQ5gZawzg

BravesFan79

August 10th, 2009
10:06 am

you replaced the Braves column with this?? i read… NCAA Twitter Vick…… probably the worst and most boring column ive ever read of yours.
Who cares about D1 college football anyways, its the dog and pony show of the sports world. Everyone gets on stage and prances around trying to look cute for the judges. Real football is played in the NFL! So you’ll only be able to blog 6 times a half… sucks but big deal. And vick who???

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:08 am

You’re right, Braves Fan. Nobody I know cares about college football. Obviously I’ve misread the audience completely.

Mac

August 10th, 2009
10:09 am

How long will it be, Mark, before legitimate news outlets cave in and start paying for exclusive access?

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:10 am

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, Mac, but I’m guessing most outlets will go to court before they pay for access.

collegeballfan

August 10th, 2009
10:10 am

This policy does seem strange. The media will need to “conspire” to hit back with low blows of its own. For starters, stop covering the SEC office in your outlets. Let the SEC office communicate directly with its several million fans.

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:11 am

Low blows from the media? Us?

mistaashraf

August 10th, 2009
10:16 am

Money makes a man (or a collegiate conference) do some crazy things. I hope the affected media outlets/ bloggers have a voice to refute this ridiculous media policy.

Peyton Manning

August 10th, 2009
10:18 am

((((Georgia Tech is in the ACC)))) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Cuz in Minnesota

August 10th, 2009
10:19 am

Don’t quit Mark, keep fighting. Did America quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour, he ll no!

rlinaug

August 10th, 2009
10:20 am

“Me, I’d work up a good later…” good lather, perhaps.

Paul H

August 10th, 2009
10:21 am

Is it possible that CBS and ESPN put this stipulation in the contracts before agreeing to pay the SEC these luctrative deals?

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:21 am

I will work up a good lather later, right after I correct this. Thanks, rlinaug.

Cuz in Minnesota

August 10th, 2009
10:21 am

I would be distraught if I could not do my usual Sophmoric comments during a Dawgs game. What is this world coming too? When did Nancy Pelosi become the Director of the SEC’s Media office?

Chip Towers

August 10th, 2009
10:21 am

Gotta love the photo of the good looking dude with Mike Slive up top. He has a pretty cool blog of his own. Check it out at http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/.

Paul H

August 10th, 2009
10:23 am

Saint Simons, did you even watch the Peach Bowl? If my team got embarrassed that bad in their own back yard on national TV, I’d be a little more concerned about that then what they did in some regular season game.

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
10:23 am

I believe the real Chip Towers has indeed joined the festivities.

Cuz in Minnesota

August 10th, 2009
10:28 am

Mike Slive looks more Orkian than Orwellian.

Otto

August 10th, 2009
10:33 am

Good to see we are not talking about the Braves. Can we just put a fork in their season?

Something the SEC needs to think about if a fan is hardcore enough to keep up with Sports Writers on Twitter they are most likely watching another game and keeping up with everything they can. I don’t have the Elvis TV room so checking up on scores with the computer is not a bad idea. I usually kept my college pick’em up on the computer when I was not at a sportsbar. Thankfully the pick’em kept score updated regularly. 90% of the time the game on the TV will be a SEC matchup.

Also clips used later are further promoting the SEC. Looks like free advertising to me.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 10th, 2009
10:37 am

Mark I have a source very close to me that states Michael Vick never served one day in the National Guard!!!

Yeah, but nobody...

August 10th, 2009
10:40 am

…reads Chip anymore due to his proclivity to promote the worst in UGA sports by constantly “reporting” as news anything bad about UGA athletes – so now he has to promote himself on other blogs with hopes that someone, anyone, will read his drivel!

SEC Media Policy « The Blog Hawgs

August 10th, 2009
10:44 am

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution [...]

jeffrey d

August 10th, 2009
10:47 am

I don’t see how these restrictions will draw people to CBS and ESPN, unless all these new rules don’t apply to them?

Either way, I’m starting to hate ESPN more and more. Round the clock coverage of Red Sox/Yankees this weekend certainly didn’t help. I tuned into SportsCenter on Saturday to see if they mentioned anything about the Braves’ ump call. The first 10 minutes were dedicated to the Boston/NY game, and the next 20 minutes I got at least 5 shots of the empty table that David Ortiz would later sit at.

Marcus

August 10th, 2009
10:48 am

MB,.
on a sidenote from a topic I asked about earlier … kinda related, but more related to the blogs that you and Schultzie had on Rothlisberger/Erin Andrews flap:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/frank_deford/08/05/espn/index.html?eref=sihp

Quesiton: At what point does what the SEC is looking to do transition from ‘protecting business interests’ (e.g. integrity of ESPN/ABC/CBS multimedia contracts) over to overzealousness/restriction of information?

FreeMikeVick

August 10th, 2009
10:51 am

It will be interesting to see how 60 Minutes will demonize Vick. Seems every other media outlet has. The poor man does not have a chance.

PoliticalMan

August 10th, 2009
10:56 am

Hard to say who is using whom on the 60 Mins bit with Vick. Obviously, restoring Vick’s image is foremost in his handlers’ minds. If only the man could talk or think. But then he wouldn’t be Vick.

Ken Stallings

August 10th, 2009
10:58 am

I see no Constitutional basis whatsoever to sustain restricting someone from blogging their own words to describe an event they watch. It is a clear violation of First Amendment rights. The only sanction the SEC (or the NCAA) could respond with is to deny press credentials.

If they did that, then the media can call the conference’s bluff by boycotting all reporting on the games. If the media got their act together and actually boycotted just one game — reported absolutely nothing about it, did no interviews, no clips, no mention, not even tot-board scores, then the SEC would get the message and rein in this insanity!

timthebrave

August 10th, 2009
11:00 am

I don’t see how this is even legal. Freedom of press…anyone…anyone

MiltonDawg

August 10th, 2009
11:02 am

Seems to me the SEC has become its own entity!! You pretty much have to watch the live game and record it and then keep the highlights for yourself. While the SEC is #1 conf in CFB, this may be a little over the top.
As far as Vick/60 Minutes…I’m wondering if Jesse Jackson or Rev. Sharpton will get to throw their 2 cents in and accuse the NFL owners of conspiring to keep him out. What a bunch of BS!!!

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
11:02 am

I guess — again, this is me guessing — it comes down to: What does a network get when it pays for rights to televise a game? Exclusivity to everything revolving around the game, or just the broadcast of the game itself?

Constitutional idiots

August 10th, 2009
11:03 am

The first amendment guarantees free speech protection from the government, not the SEC. Did any of you hillbillies go to school?

FreeMikeVick

August 10th, 2009
11:05 am

Uhhhh….The NFL is conspiring to keep Vick out…..Someone with with his skill set STILL not signed with a team? Please!

timthebrave

August 10th, 2009
11:07 am

Yeah, poor mike vick…obviously he hasn’t done anything for anyone to write negatively about him. Except kill and fight dogs… and give people herpes..and try to sneak weed on a plane inside an illegal water bottle…and lie…and…I believe he deserves another chance but don’t make him into a victim

FALCONS SORRY

August 10th, 2009
11:07 am

MARK BRADLY! 60 MINUTES IS ONLY PART OF MIKE VICKS WORLD TOUR TO REHAB HIS IMAGE AND RETAIN HIS GOOD WILL THAT THOSE HATERS AND PETA BUNNY HUGGERS AND AUTHUR BLANK AND THE SORRY FBI STOLE AWAY FROM HIM! FOR NO REASON! YOU HATERS AT THE AJC HAVE TORE DOWN HIS GOOD NAME FOR YEARS NOW AFTER BUILDING HIM UP JUST SO YOU COULD TEAR HIM DOWN! WHEN HE GET HIS FACE BACK ON TV AND HIS VOICE BACK INTO A MICROPHONE THE TROOF WILL COME OUT AND HE WILL OVERCOME ALL THE DAMAGE THE AJC AND THE OTHER HATERS HERE IN ATL HAVE TRIED TO DO TO CRUCIFY THE MAN! THE AJC WONT BE ABLE TO HURT HIM NO MORE WHEN AMERICA FALL IN LOVE WITH MV7 ALL OVER AGAIN AND FORGIVE HIM FOR KILLING A FEW WORTHLESS DOGS FOR FUN! THE AJC LOSING ITS ABILITY TO COVER SEC FOOTBALL IS ONLY PART OF THE PAY BACK! WHAT GO AROUND COME AROUND! ALL HE DONE FOR THIS WORTHLESS TOWN AND PEOPLE STILL WANT TO KICK THE MAN WHILE HE DOWN! IT MAKE ME SICK TO MY STOMACH! THOSE OF US THAT TRULY LOVE AND TREASURE YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK MIKE!

FreeMikeVick

August 10th, 2009
11:08 am

Falcons Sorry…..You rule!

MiltonDawg

August 10th, 2009
11:09 am

Don’t worry FreeMikeVick- he’ll end up with Seattle or Oakland and then all will be happy or then the next issue will be on to Stallworth. You say “skill set” but again, the man hasn’t played in 2 years. How do you know he still has the “skills”?? Maybe that is 1 reason owners are a little hesitant to sign him.

Booty

August 10th, 2009
11:10 am

I think Mark Bradley has a hidden desire for young, hot, black athletes… Maybe he wants to date one????

MiltonDawg

August 10th, 2009
11:10 am

I’m starting to think Vick is FALCONS SORRY!!

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
11:12 am

Let’s ask this, Ken: Say the AJC resolved not to cover any Georgia games due to the SEC’s media policy. (And this is just a hypothesis, nothing more.) Where would readers direct their ire — at the AJC or the SEC?

Constitutional idiots

August 10th, 2009
11:16 am

Mark, don’t ask Ken. He does not understand the first amendment. How is he to understand your query?

HawksNeedaBig

August 10th, 2009
11:18 am

What this will turn into will be a slew of things like the Super Bowl ads that refere to “the Big Game” in fear of copyright infringement. Someone will be blogging from jacksonville about a contest between Canines from the Peach State vs. Reptiles from the Orange State.

jeffrey d

August 10th, 2009
11:18 am

I’d reserve my ire for the SEC. I’d actually applaud the AJC if it didn’t cover Georgia as an act of defiance to these restrictions (I’m a Georgia grad and fan, it should be noted)

So 72 hours after the conclusion of a game, these highlights become phantoms, never to be seen again except on ESPN?

Truth-Serum

August 10th, 2009
11:22 am

Bradley is sure pimpimg Vick for all he can. Thats it. Make him the head line and then bury the story at the bottom because nobody’s really interested in ready the other stories…Hummm this from a man who a said Vick wasnt marketable. I guess pimping aint easy right
PETA? Sleezy aint easy right Bradley?

Hypocracy… the stuff journalist are made of!!

The AJC… Where racism happens!

Reid Adair

August 10th, 2009
11:22 am

Wow. That’s a pretty strict “media” policy that the SEC is proposing. Hope you don’t end up getting banned from covering SEC events, Mark!

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
11:23 am

I’ve read the policy via the PDF made available by the Tuscaloosa News, and I’d be lying if I said I understood it all. But in the News’ story, SEC spokesman Charles Bloom says the policy is open to tweaking. As I read it, though, the current stance is that a 72-hour postgame window would hold and that video would no longer be available except on CBS, ESPN, the SEC Web site and (I assume) coaches’ shows.

At this point, nobody knows what will happen. Wish I did.

Truth-Serum

August 10th, 2009
11:23 am

not interested in reading the other stories.

Mark Bradley

August 10th, 2009
11:24 am

The Chick-fil-A Bowl once threatened to ban me from covering it, you should know. But nothing ever came of that. (I’d written something that made the bowl folks mad, which I sometimes do.)