I’m not usually the one to write voracious blog posts on why I hate certain things, but today I felt compelled to do so. Unfortunately, the University of Michigan Athletic Department has left me no choice.
As a college graduate who majored in journalism and a proponent of free speech, the fact that the Michigan Daily – a student run newspaper at the U – was shut out of a Brady Hoke presser today is incredibly shameful. This is just another lump in a series of lashings the department and football program have received over the past few months.
The Daily ran a story a little over a week ago which broke the news of kicker Brendan Gibbons’ expulsion from the University. This story would create frenzy in Ann Arbor, why did it take so long for Gibbons to be reprimanded for his alleged actions? Though I must reiterate that no charges were ever filed.
All of this added attention and all of this extra scrutiny – whether it should be warranted or not – was created by a student-run newspaper. A few bright and courageous journalists had the guts to break something that would surely bring their school into a negative light.
It is the Daily’s responsibility to report the facts and keep the students informed, and it did just that.
For the department to shut out the student newspaper from attending a press conference is simply wrong and grossly unjustifiable.
What kind of message does that send to the students?
Simple. Don’t report things that could be potentially damaging to the program and school, or lose access.
I understand the department is, in all reality, a separate entity when it comes to the University as a whole, but it doesn’t make what it did today an acceptable offense.
The students, alumni and fans across the nation deserve the truth and to be informed. The students who work tirelessly at the Daily deserve their right to free speech and to report on any major story they’d like, within reason.
Even though they may consider this lack of access a loss now, they can later be proud knowing they won. They made an organization bigger than the Daily concede defeat and try to shut them away. That alone, is a victory.
Whether the events that led to this story being broken are true or not is a different one to be written. But, for now, banning a news source from covering the team simply because it did what it’s mean to do is such a shame.
I expected better.