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APSE’s letter to University of Kentucky after student journalists banned from media event Aug. 30, 2011

APSE has sent the following to the University of Kentucky as a result of its decision to ban student journalists from a media event. Coverage of Kentucky's punitive action can be read here and here. The Associated Press Managing Editors has sent a letter to Kentucky as well.

 

 

DeWayne Peevy

Associate Athletic Director of Media Relations

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Ky.

 

Dear Mr. Peevy,

It was with great concern to learn that you have rescinded an invitation to the Kentucky school newspaper to attend a media event because they violated an unwritten access rule.  This is disturbing on many levels.

You have referred to an “unwritten” rule and an “understanding” between the media and the university that all interview requests must go through the SID department.  Clearly, something as vague as an understanding is not legally enforceable or should a violation lead to punishment. It would be like giving a speeding ticket to a car driving through an area with no speed limit and saying, “Well, everyone knows you should be going 65.”

There is also the abridgement of basic First Amendment rights to decide access issues based on what the publication writes.  This is a form of censorship, something institutions of higher learning should find as repulsive as the media do.

Ultimately, the decision to talk to the media rests with the athlete and if you don’t want your players to talk to the media without the SID office interceding then you have to get that message to the athletes. And, we believe you did as the athletes in question chose not to talk.

Finally, you have been quoted as saying that the purpose of the media event is "to test some of my guys out." This shows that you see the relationship between school athletes and the media and how exposure and dealing with the media is part of the learning and maturation process. That kind of insight is very welcome so maybe you can see that how this type of punishment is out of line with what you are trying to accomplish.

It is because of these and other unstated reasons that the Associated Press Sports Editors, the organization that represents most of the country’s sports sections and websites, strongly urge you to reverse your decision to ban the school paper from the media event.

If you would like to discuss this matter further please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Michael A. Anastasi

APSE President

 

Cc: Taylor Moak, editor in chief, Kernal

       Mitch Barnhart, director of athletics, University of Kentucky

       Eli Capilouto, president, University of Kentucky

Officers

Mike Sherman

Mike Sherman

President
The Oklahoman

Mary Byrne

Mary Byrne

First Vice President
USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Deas

Tommy Deas

Second Vice President
The Tuscaloosa News

John Bednarowski, sports editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal, was elected to a two-year term as APSE's third vice president in 2014.

John Bednarowski

Third Vice President
Marietta Daily Journal

Jack Berninger

Jack Berninger

Executive Director
Richmond Times-Dispatch
(retired)

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