Vol. 51, No. 1 November 2013 .pdf version
Kirk Wessler: Good news, bad news in NCAA meetings
Joe Mitch: Membership approaching magical 1,000 mark
Chris DiSano: Help SIDs identify worthy websites
Lodge Notes: Weiss, Lopresti, Clark leave longtime jobs
Nominations being taken for USBWA awards
Burlison resigns; Graney joins USBWA board
USBWA men's and women's preseason honors

Chris DiDano

USBWA's task: Help SIDs identify worthy websites

By CHRIS DiSANO / College ChalkTalk
New Media Liaison

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Twenty years ago, the credentialing process was comfortable for all involved. Beat writers along with Associated Press stringers and other local print media and television stations generally comprised the pool of applicants whose requests were fielded by sports information directors. The blueblood programs also welcomed national outlets such as Sports Illustrated.

Since then, as we all know, much has changed. The rise of the Internet has led to the proliferation of independent sites covering schools and conferences at all levels, significantly diversifying and increasing the pool of applicants seeking credentials.

The USBWA embraces this change and the challenges that are part and parcel with this positive, exponential growth. We recognize that there are numerous bloggers and others in the ever growing digital sphere who are passionate, operate with a sense of journalistic integrity and do great work. On the other hand, there are independent sites that while humorous, entertaining or frequently visited fall short of the standards and ideals for which the USBWA stands.

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The challenge is navigating through the digital debris and helping committed and journalistically sound independent sites and bloggers gain access and cover the sport they follow.

USBWA President Kirk Wessler and the organization's leadership feel it's incumbent upon the USBWA to collaborate with like-minded organizations and roll up our sleeves on this issue. We recognize that the questions that confront sports information directors on a daily basis many of which pertain to online entities and individuals seeking credentials are complex and varied, and we want to help.

Over the summer, we assembled a Credentialing Task Force comprised of USBWA folks representing all angles. Those serving on the Task Force are as follows:

Chris DiSano, Founder/President, CollegeChalktalk.com (Chair)
Kirk Wessler, USBWA President, Peoria Journal Star
Dana O'Neil, USBWA Vice President, ESPN.com
Dan Wallenberg, Sports Information Director, Ohio State
Patrick Pierson, Sports Information Director, Arkansas
Randy McClure, Founder/President, RushtheCourt.net
Gerry Ahern, USA Today/APSE
Brian Morrison, Associate Commissioner, Atlantic Coast Conference
Joe Mitch, USBWA Executive Director

The Task Force's goal is straightforward: develop a set of credentialing guidelines and best practices that can be shared with SIDs, conference officials and administrations around the country.

On Oct. 2, we held our first hour-long conference call. The participation on the call was excellent and the discussion helped solidify our method of attacking this issue and action plan moving forward. We plan to collaborate with both the APSE and CoSIDA and work to further define the minimum standards to which online entities can be held. We'll also explore whether to recommend a waiting period before new online sites can apply for credentials and perhaps assemble a mechanism (i.e. standing committee(s) for reviewing online sites/bloggers and making recommendations to SIDs about their fitness for credentialing.

We've only just begun our work. That said, we're optimistic about developing a framework that balances the interests of many and which can be fair in its administration nationwide.

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