News Groups Want To Huddle With Big Ten Conference Over Credentials

A half-dozen news organizations have called for a meeting with the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference over newly issued press credentials, saying they impede their ability to cover the sport for readers and viewers and that the conference itself will suffer from the overly restrictive terms.

In a letter to Big 10 commissioner James Delaney, Radio-Television News Directors Association chairman Stacey Woelfel, joined by the heads of news and sports editors associations, student reporters and others, said the credentials' restrictions disserves the audience and prevents them from having access to "high quality news coverage" of college sports.

Among the provisions RTNDA has problems with are what it says is an apparent "absolute ban" on secondary use of content "in any format for any purpose"; a "very strict" ban on the ues of game footage video by non-broadcast media; limiting braodcast use to two minutes of game video--no audio--and only in bona fide news progarmming; and only within a week of the event.

The journalists are also troubled by a provision that makes any of works created in conjunction with the coverage the property of the conference.

"By creating such restrictive credentials for covering events," said Woelfel in a statement, "the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions are creating a situation where the fans and the conference itself will suffer."

"We propose an open and frank discussion of the entire credentialing document," the letter said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.