By Steve Outing
Jack Lail blogs about using Twitter to cover breaking news stories with a series of alerts, riffing off an earlier post by me, and cites an example of a fan “tweeting” a high school football game. That is an excellent example of a news use for Twitter. Just imagine receiving phone text alerts from someone providing Twitter posts throughout a game that you can’t be at or watch (because you’re driving, on a bus, at a concert, at work, etc.).
Lail brought up an interesting side issue, which is that while a fan may be in the clear by posting Twitter alerts during, say, an NCAA basketball game, a reporter would be prohibited by NCAA rules from doing the same thing. As Lail notes, “Journalist aren’t the only ones who need to think in new ways.”
I’ve long been annoyed by the restrictions that some college and professional sports leagues put on working journalists, which prevent them from utilizing new technologies — like Twitter. This is another example of how old organizations continue to live in the past, thinking that they have control over information about them. While they may be able to control the traditional press, there’s nothing they can do — short of confiscating cell phones at the stadium gate or jamming mobile phone reception — to prevent their fans from acting as though they are sports reporters and posting game “coverage.”
Sure, the leagues can adopt rules that prohibit using phones to report on live game action and apply them to journalists and fans. But get real; that would be impossible to police.