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Vol. 54, No. 3 • March 2017 • .pdf version
Online Credentialing Task Force will consider website endorsements
The USBWA's Online Credentialing Task Force was formed nearly two and one-half years ago and already has issued endorsements for 34 websites. These websites, in the opinion of the USBWA, deserve full consideration when applying for credentials to NCAA member institutions' home games, college basketball tournament events and the NCAA tournament.
The credentialing task force was set up to identify criteria that would be especially helpful to sports information directors when evaluating sites for the purpose of either granting or denying credential requests.
The task force was comprised initially of reporters from traditional print and online organizations, SIDs and representatives from APSE and the USBWA. The task force agreed that the APSE's statement of ethics guidelines constituted a good model for professional journalism websites to follow.
The intent of the USBWA is two-fold: 1) to provide support for online entities that meet reasonable expectations of professional editorial oversight and adherence to journalistic and ethical standards; and 2) to provide a service and a resource for media coordinators, who can take into account USBWA endorsement when considering a request to grant credentials.
Receiving endorsement from the USBWA does not guarantee that a website will be credentialed, however. NCAA-member institutions and other eventsponsoring organizations retain the sole right to grant or deny credentials.
When reviewing applications from websites for endorsement, the task force thoroughly vets every site and uses the following criteria to judge a website's legitimacy:
Editorial oversight and adherence to journalistic and ethical standards; evaluation of demonstrated proprietary, rather than aggregate, content; experience of staff; scope of coverage; balance of coverage; frequency and consistency of publication.
The task force evaluates websites only and not individuals. Traditional media organizations (newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations or networks) and independent websites should apply for endorsement on behalf of their staff members. Freelancers should apply for accreditation either through or on behalf of the media organization for which they will be covering an event.
Current members of the Online Credentialing Task Force are Randy McClure, Rush the Court and the USBWA's new media liaison; Joe Mitch, USBWA executive director; and Kirk Wessler, Peoria Journal Star and a past president of the USBWA. Chris DiSano, formerly of College Chalktalk, served the first two years on the committee when it began evaluating websites.
For a list of websites endorsed by the USBWA and to apply for endorsement, go to the USBWA's website at usbwa.com and click on the Credentialing Application link.
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