Working under the assumption that there will be a training camp—and anything else football related—in 2020, we also are operating under the understanding that it will not be under the terms that we have previously known. Especially for ourselves, coverage will change drastically because we will not have our own Alex Kozora on-hand observing and reporting from practice.
This year, in fact, nobody will be ‘reporting from practice’. According to an NFL memo highlighted by Tom Pelissero yesterday that governs media access, there may be permitted up to four pool reporters permitted to attend training camp practice that would ordinarily be open to the media, but they may not engage in “blogging, texting, tweeting or reporting of any kind” from practice.
Live tweets had become an integral part of training camp coverage around the NFL, and perhaps especially for bloggers, who if in attendance were able to get real-time observations out there, or if not, to share the observations of others, including amateur video taken by fellow fans.
This is probably taken as good news by many in the traditional media who did not care for the requirement of keeping up with the ‘rat race’ of maintaining a virtual footprint and trying to beat everybody else to the punch with news. To a certain extent, even I may find this slightly relieving, but still, it leaves out a major part of the story, and robs us of, for example, highlight moments from camp.
That won’t necessarily be entirely the case, however. The memo also stipulates that teams will be required a “accommodate a practice media pool that includes one pool video camera, one still photographer and up to four pool reporters at any daily training camp practice sessions that would typically be open to the media”.
It also does not say that reporters are not permitted to take videos of practice and share them at a later time, though it does say that teams are permitted to limit video and photography of practice. It’s not clear to me where the Steelers might fall, as they have in recent years put up more restrictions.
Additionally, while players will be permitted to report who is and is not practicing, and about “non-strategy and non-game plan observations”, the memo states that reporters should adhere to guidelines that include no reporting of which players are practicing with what units or about any specific plays or game strategy.
It’s not clear if this limit remains in effect if a player during a later interview (which will also be heavily restricted) makes reference to where he or another player worked or about a specific package that they worked on, which has been the Steelers’ policy in recent years.
Media access to 2020 NFL training camp and preseason also will look a lot different — most notable, no in-person interviews with players will be permitted until further notice. pic.twitter.com/3po9SFQZHa
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 4, 2020