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Athletics Has to Stop Censoring the Chronicle

Pace%27s+football+field+at+night.+Photo+by+Joseph+Tucci
Pace's football field at night. Photo by Joseph Tucci

Pace's football field at night. Photo by Joseph Tucci

Pace's football field at night. Photo by Joseph Tucci

James Miranda, Copy Editor

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Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t like you and I know for damn sure you don’t like me, Pace Athletics.

I will not be naming anyone by name out of respect for the people in Athletics. I’m not saying that the entire Athletic Department is evil because there are some great people in the department. One man in particular who treated me with the utmost respect and was as professional as possible.

Sure, we had our fair share of shouting matches, but this person treated me with respect time and time again and I hope I returned the favor.

And I’d like to thank Athletics for the help they provided the Chronicle and me the last two years in terms of getting coaches and players for us to interview. So, since I never had a chance to say thank you personally, I’ll say it publicly. Thank you.

However, this esteemed department has tried its hardest to censor the Pace Chronicle and I in just about every single way.

Athletics has given the paper a rough time running stories the last two years. We’ve received countless emails and calls that we can’t speak to athletes, coaches, or officials without their permission. We’ve been given no comments from their department when negative stories were run and that’s unacceptable from a journalistic and professional standpoint in my opinion.

I get it, they’re Public Relations and it’s their job to protect/represent the athletes and coaches. Protect them from what, however?

Perhaps the most bewildering example is their obstruction of writers from writing profiles, which is what we as a newspaper try to run every week on Athletics and were sometimes ruined by this department.

The first article I wrote this year was an athlete profile. Talked to the athlete, wrote the story, and needed another voice—a coach’s voice. But after eight persistent phone calls to said coach, no response, the profile was incompletely run, and I was virtually threatened that they’d tell every athlete on campus not to speak with me.

I didn’t call because I thought you guys were hiding something or an athlete committed a felony, I wanted to ask questions about the athlete’s life for a complete story because that’s my job.

Whenever I spoke to coaches, they would pride their athletes as students first. They would pride the academic standings that athletes provided to the team because they are students first. And there is no rule against me talking to a student.

I can’t express how many times I was contacted by Athletics when I was sports editor because I reached out to an athlete behind their backs and how they had to remind me about their policy, which didn’t apply to me.

Give me one legitimate reason, Athletics, why you were mad about stories such as a pitcher who writes the names of two deceased family members on his cap and plays for them. That’s not negative, that’s journalism. Better yet that’s good publicity.

It’s our job/duty as journalists to stay on top of everything in our beat and write stories about the people within in it. If we have to go through a whole process just to speak to someone we can find in Kessel or have a PR person’s presence hovering over an interviewee’s answers, we can’t do our jobs effectively.

I can’t stress how much I urge the upcoming Chronicle staff to take caution when dealing with this department. Do not let them censor you. Do not let them prevent you from doing your job as a journalist. And most importantly, do not let them tell you that you have to abide by policies set forth by their department.

The Chronicle and Athletics are separate.

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