University of Kansas head football Coach Charlie Weis seems to think the goal of his college’s newspaper is to be a cheerleader for his team.
Rather than looking at the newspaper as a training ground for future journalists, Weis seems to think it should operate as an in-house newsletter by only running stories that shine a positive light on the campus and its athletic teams.
Last week Weis blasted the award-winning University Daily Kansan newspaper for a front page story (below) and graphics that showed his team was likely to get crushed by Kansas State.
“Team slammed by our own school newspaper,” wrote Weis in a Tweet to followers. “Amazing! No problem with opponents paper or local media. You deserve what you get! But, not home!”
As it turned out, his team promptly went out and DID get blasted 56-16 by KSU as its record slumped to 1-4.
“On Tuesday, the University Daily Kansan issued a rejoinder to Weis’ statement regarding its role in covering KU athletics,” noted USA Today. “In his response, Mike Vernon, a KU junior and a columnist for the paper, said that KU students ‘deserve better than a pom-pom squad of a newspaper. They deserve to get the truth.’”
“A journalist’s job is to be objective in every sense of the word. A journalist cannot cheer. A journalist cannot wear team colors. A journalist cannot show any bias whatsoever.”
But, USA Today’s Paul Myerberg is reporting in a story titled “Kansas football is bullying the Kansas student paper” that Weis is still mad at the student newspaper and now seems to be trying to bully the student reporter covering his team.
The Kansan’s Associate News Editor Luke Ranker says that the KU Athletic Department warned Blake Schuster, a junior journalist assigned to cover the team’s press conference today, that things could get ugly for him.
Clearly the goal was to intimidate the student reporter, which is a tactic that never works.
“Prior to the press conference, “[KU director of football communications Katy] Lonergan invited Schuster to a meeting in her office with Mike Cummings, assistant director of communications for KU Athletics,” wrote Ranker.
“During the meeting, Lonergan warned Schuster about possible negative reactions to last Thursday’s Kansan cover art and story. She told him these negative attitudes could be directed toward him.”
“‘The way I perceived it was there would be a negative effect for me if I asked any questions,’ Schuster said.”
Charlie Weis seems to be following in the footsteps of Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.
Both would rather try and intimidate those covering their team and seem to “major in minors” rather than do anything about their pathetic 1-4 football teams.