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Turned Down For NFL Combine Cred

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by icoverbucks, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    I work for a college website with one of the major networks (Scout, Rivals, 247). I have covered the combine for several years but now been turned down second year in a row.

    This was my reply to the NFL PR person charged with credentials:

    Sad to hear I could not get a combine credential. I covered the combine for 5 years from 2007-12. Last year was the first time I had an issue getting credentialed.

    In most of those years, I filed reports for our network of team sites. I would do up to 40 updates or more from my 3 or 4 day stay at the combine. I was there to work.

    I also sent video back to my partners at a local TV affiliate.

    I’m amazed at how you can have 5,000 media at a Super Bowl but a few hundred for the combine is too much for the National Football League. That makes no sense to me. You are in a building the size of Montana. Yes, I understand there are costs involved in welcoming media. Maybe do away with free lunch, maybe charge 5 or 10 bucks a day for truly highspeed internet. Find more workspace.

    When we cover the Big Ten championship game, they use the warehouse just off the playing field for interviews and workspace. Your whole operation would EASILY fit down there. With a big stage for the Manziels and room for other stages and interview tables as well. Why you are up in a cramped space on the concourse boggles the mind. Seriously, come in for the Big Ten title game and look at the set-up. The Big Ten does it right and the building has the capability.

    Yes, some of the pressers can be overwhelming when you have a Manziel or Michael Sam or something else. But I have never felt it was an unworkable situation even in that club suite room.

    Anything you/the NFL can do to expand the pool of reporters and vette the people who want to cover it would be great.

    I know this event comes right on the heels of the Super Bowl and that makes it harder to stage, I imagine.

    As you can see, I have a lot of insight into this situation. I’ve been to the combine 5 times and covered probably 10 events in that stadium. I’ve put a lot of thought into this response.

    I don’t understand how the biggest sports empire in the country can have a “can’t-do” attitude. My motto would be to get ALL of the legitimate coverage I could get.

    Just my two cents … sorry for the rant. Been doing this 25 years and believe no shouldn’t be in anybody’s vocabulary.
  2. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    Reply from NFL PR guy:

    Thanks for your note and thoughtful suggestions.

    As you are keenly aware, media interest in the combine continues to grow with each passing year, particularly from outlets that cover us on site on a regular basis. At this year’s combine, we will facilitate interviews for nearly 50 head coaches and football executive along with approximately 300 prospects. All of this must be coordinated around the busy schedule of players and executives, which do not include dedicated time for media availabilities. As such, we must remain in close proximity to field level at the stadium.

    All “downstairs” space on service level (which you’ve seen at the Big Ten Championship) is dedicated to mission-critical event functions relating to player evaluations (medical, team interviews, other ancillary workout, etc.). We’ve carefully evaluated (and reevaluate annually) all options to maximize the the media access we provide. Of the areas suitable for our operational needs, the East Lounge is by far the largest and best equipped at Lucas Oil.

    Working within the very real space constraints we do have, we base our media accreditation decisions on several factors. Among the most important is the measurable audience reached by the applying organization. Significant emphasis is also placed upon the amount of on-site coverage an organization provides an NFL club on a regular basis. There is a large media contingent that cover NFL teams on-site each week throughout the season – games, practices and media availabilities – in addition to devoting significant resources throughout the year at other events, including training camps and community appearances. Even for media that fall into this category, we are unable to accommodate all of the requests we receive.
  3. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    And finally my reply to him:

    They have one of the world’s largest convention centers connected to the dome via a hallway underground. But I get it, you are doing the best you can with what you have to work with.

    Does ESPN need 15-20 people running around when I can’t get 1? That’s a valid question and I don’t care if they are a rightsholder.

    My challenge to you (and the NFL staff) is to get it done.

    Good luck with it next week!

    Me again: Not sure it will do any good but I at least feel like I made my case. I'm not in now so what diff does it make? Sometimes you just need to say something.

    Anybody have any other thoughts on it?
  4. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    One more thing ...

    Anybody who has been there knows they don't even use the outer concourse, in fact there is open space out there on the south end where they could put the interview spaces and more work areas. ESPN and NFL Network and radio row usually set up on the north end of the outer concourse. The whole thing is ridiculous.
  5. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I'm stunned they turned anyone down.

    I would apply again and list only the TV station you're working for.

    I think you would also be better off saying (and maybe you are) This is such and such from Rivals.com.

    If you applied and listed some of the idiotic names of the the rivals college sites The Bunker or Gator Country or Gamecock Central, you're begging for them to turn you down.
  6. Southwinds

    Southwinds Member

    Just because you apply to cover an event doesn't mean they need to accommodate you.
  7. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    The other thing to take into consideration is that this is a NFL sponsored event. If the company you worked for covered the NFL, you would get a credential.
  8. TopSpin

    TopSpin Member

    Keep in mind ESPN has a beat writer for each NFL team since 2013, so the answer to that part of the question would be yes, and then add 12 more.

    I think that is a more than fair requirement by the NFL, giving "significant emphasis" to those covering team beats on a daily basis. The Combine is part of the NFL Draft process, after all. Head coaches and team executives are there for pressers, often the first time beat writers have access to them since the end of the regular season. The beat writers should have priority.

    There is no doubt the media presence has grown every year at the Combine, and last year was a zoo, likely because of Sam. That said, a lot of the college media types left the Combine after Sam had his presser from what I saw. The hit-and-run media members took away a lot of seats from folks who are typically there to cover the four-day event.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The most effective strategy is to complain about what ESPN gets, because the NFL totally will stiff its multibillion-dollar rights holder to accommodate you.
    YankeeFan likes this.
  10. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    ESPN will have a minimum of 70 people there.

    If you want a credential, complaining will not help. Getting creative will.
  11. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I think this line probably sealed your fate for the future of being credentialed.
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Next time, the network for whom you work should file the credential request, if you're filing for a variety of team sites. (Which sounds like 247's model.)

    Do I think those sites can file those little nuggets themselves? Yeah.

    Do I think, if you're filing 30-40 updates over 3-4 days, that your network basically wants you to have the credential to churn out 100-word items that can generate Web hits with a dateline on them? Yeah.
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