CONCERNED FANS FOR
November 12, 2006
MEMBERS OF UK SPORTS PRESS CORPS
A few weeks ago, Mark Story, a sports journalist with the Lexington Herald-Leader appeared as Alan Cutler's guest on Mr. Cutler's WLAP radio show. They discussed the UK Football situation, specifically the coaching. During that conversation, Mr. Story said that he did not like Hal Mumme, and did not think Mumme was good for the program. However, he also said that he never wrote about that, and treated Mumme kindly in his columns.
Over the last 9 years, the UK Basketball program has declined from the very pinnacle of college basketball when Coach Smith arrived to no better than 4th or 5th place in the SEC today. Concerned Fans have raised many serious questions about the management and leadership of the UK basketball program. For example,
Some members of the press and fans have excused the failure of the UK Sports Press Corps to ask these and other tough but relevant questions on the fact that reporters would risk a loss of access to UK coaches, players, administrators, and attendance at the games and other official functions of the program. Few fans would argue with the fact that access is important for a journalist to perform his professional duties. However, it is not the only necessary ingredient to provide journalistic coverage.
These journalists have a broader responsibility to the public than simply satisfying and advancing their self interests by maintaining the peace in order to keep their ring side seating priorities. The Society of Professional Journalists have defined these broader duties in their Code of Ethics. Interestingly, two prominent Kentuckians serve on the SPJ Ethics Committee:
Al Cross, University of Kentucky,E-mail, 859/257-3744
On several occasions, Concerned Fans have asked certain reporters covering the UK Basketball program, including Mr. Jerry Tipton and Mr. Alan Cutler, why they have not pursued the types of issues identified above. They remind us of the fact that their "professional" requirements discourage anonymous sources and prevent them from dealing with rumors. The Editors agree that rumor mongering is not in the interests of the UK Basketball program and could be unfair to some participants, including Coach Smith, his staff, and the UKAA administration. However, these are not the only ethical duties that apply to journalists, and no journalist should be allowed to pick and choose which of the journalistic ethical standards they will adopt and which they will ignore.
I suggest that everyone take a look at the voluntarily adopted Code of Ethics published by the Society of Professional Journalists to get the full flavor of these ethical obligations.
Seek Truth and Report It
Concerned Fans challenge the members of the UK Sports Press Corps to explain why the questions raised herein are not appropriate areas of inquiry and reporting based on the public's right to know, accountability to their readers, listeners and viewers, and consistent with their duty to seek the truth without bias or conflicts of interest.
Please submit all comments about these editorials to The Editors at: