SBD/Issue 238/Sports Media

SEC Unveils Latest Revisions To Controversial New Media Policy

SEC Has Billed Latest Media Policy
Revision As The Final Product
The SEC Thursday issued the "latest in a line of revisions" to its new media policy, this one "billed as the final product," according to Scott Hotard of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Legal Affairs Committee Chair John Cherwa said that the input of media groups "encouraged four major adjustments." These revisions included the approval of video and audio use on newspaper Web sites -- "so long as the video isn't in-game action;" the allowance of blogging during games, with the "exception of play-by-play depiction;" the right of newspapers to sell photos and use them in commemorative publications; and the approval of photo galleries on Web sites. Cherwa said he has "never seen a commissioner as involved in something like this" as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive was. Cherwa: "I've talked to Mike Slive more the last few days than I've talked to my wife." Hotard notes media outlets "must sign off on the policy" to be credentialed for any sporting event on an SEC campus, and Cherwa said the APSE is "not offering any recommendations." Cherwa: "But we do know what we did this week moved the needle." AP Associate General Counsel David Tomlin said that the revisions are a "step in the right direction," and SEC Associate Commissioner for Media Relations Charles Bloom "expressed optimism that closure is near." But Baton Rouge Advocate Exec Editor Carl Redman said he is "not satisfied at all" with the new policy. Redman: "It still causes a lot of concern for us. … I think we're basically at an impasse." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Managing Editor David Bailey added, "There might be someone out there who is willing to accept this policy without conditions, but I don't know who that might be." Hotard notes the Baton Rouge Advocate Wednesday "joined several other news organizations in discussions about filing a lawsuit against the SEC," but those plans "are on hold, for now" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 8/28).

MEDIA MATTERS: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon writes the revised policy, which marks the "third time this month" the SEC has issued a new media policy, "appears to address a bulk of the media's concerns." Additional revisions include allowing TV stations to "use video of SEC schools for preseason and postseason specials without paying a licensing fee," and permitting a media pool agreement "so TV stations can share video if they miss a game." However, the SEC "retained its exclusive rights for game action video on the Internet," and Cherwa said that "some restrictions, especially those concerning video, remain too severe" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 8/28).

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