Sports editor ‘wasn’t that happy’ about WP selling game tickets

Phillip Merrill College of Journalism
That was revealed at last night’s University of Maryland j-school Ethics in Sports Media discussion, which had representatives from ESPN, USA Today, Washington Post and the Washington Redskins. “[The] lively discussion produced some newsy nuggets, in my estimation, detailed below with timecodes that correspond to the live-blog archive,” the journalism school’s Sean Mussenden tells Romenesko. His report and transcript excerpts are after the jump.

Redskins Exec Says Lawsuit Against City Paper “a Warning Shot” at Other Media Orgs, Compares Redskins Owner to Egyptian Protesters (jump to 8:04 in discussion)
Washington Redskins senior vice president Tony Wyllie, a panelist, called Washington City Paper writer Dave McKenna “evil and mean.” Wyllie said that, at some level, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s lawsuit against McKenna and the Washington City Paper is intended to warn other publications to be careful when writing about the Redskins owner. “Some people ask, ‘Are you firing a warning shot at other members of the media?’ And I’d say ‘yes’,” he said. Wyllie added: “We’re not trying to be bullies…We’re not trying to make anyone afraid.” Wyllie said Snyder was searching for truth, and Wyllie compared Snyder’s lawsuit to truth-seeking protesters in Egypt. Washington Post sports editor Matt Vita, also a panelist, said he was not sure the Post would have written a piece like the City Paper’s “The Cranky Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” which Snyder’s lawsuit against McKenna and the publication is based on. But, Vita said, the lawsuit would not give the Post pause from aggressive coverage of the Redskins in the future. “It doesn’t really affect us at all,” Vita said.

Washington Post Sports Editor Unhappy About Paper Getting into Ticket Sales Business (jump to 7:36 in discussion)
Washington Post sports editor Matt Vita said he “wasn’t that happy” about the Washington Post’s recent decision to sell tickets to games of local teams that the paper’s editorial staff covers. “It’s a business department decision, certainly not ours. I wasn’t that happy about it,” he said. Vita said his goal was to keep it totally separated from editorial content. “I think I’ve succeeded in that,” he said. A reader following the live-blog of the panel summed up his feelings this way: “Wow, Washington Post shouldn’t be doing that. They’re not Ticketmaster. lol.”

ESPN Exec Calls Network “Largest Conflict of Interest Known to Mankind” (jump to 7:16 in discussion)
ESPN vice president and director of news Vince Doria, a panelist, called his network the “largest conflict of interest known to mankind,” referring to the fact that ESPN has financial relationships with leagues to broadcast games while also covering those games as journalists. But those deals, he said, don’t prevent aggressive coverage of those leagues. Discussing ESPN’s Erin Andrews and the recent controversy over her shoe endorsement deal, Doria said Andrews was not really a reporter, but someone who feeds into the news process. He said it was a mistake to let Andrews endorse Reebok.

> Read the panel discussion transcript

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