There is an old adage that I have always liked, and depending on the circumstances/
environment, try to embody: either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. Of course, this runs the risk of leaving carnage and collateral damage along the way if not done right. So from a more down to earth, pragmatic, standpoint, I also like the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Essayons (Let us try).
So how does this apply to sports media and college athletics? The answer is not easily. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish leaders, folowers, and obstructors. It is sometimes hard to find the thought leaders willing to say "Let us try." Sports public relations guru and thought leader Joe Favorito has many thoughts on this, borne out of experience and frustration in his years working with different organizations.
Joe and I had a phone conversation late last week following our post about the NCAA possibly eliminating all print media guides. It was the first time I have talked to Joe by phone, and it is always good to talk to a native New Yorker who is not afraid to pull his punches. We talked about the potential decisions, and the impact on working nedia and college brands.
In a blog post today, Joe adds to the discussion of how college athletic organizations do not "get" how to effectively interact with the media and their fan base. In his piece on "Sports Marketing and PR Roundup," Joe writes:
"...troubles continue ahead, as instead of investing and learning the business of sports, more colleges are looking to cut around the edges and find ways to slow the process of media relations and athletic branding down, rather than taking steps to grow through investment, a practice which certainly is taught in the classrooms of any basic history or economics class...
...The frills are also not needed in making media guides vanity projects either…they should be what they were created for…to service the media. But the reckless elimination of such guides will probably hurt coverage in the long run at the risk of saving a few short term bucks. Stupid."
I need to follow up on one statement Joe made in this piece, specifically that
printing should be a Title IX must for schools
I am not sure how he means to inject Title IX into the equation, or that it really needs to be. Perhaps he can follow up on this line of thought.
It may be a case that athletic directors and sports information directors will continue to be like Don Quixote and to tilt at windmills instead of doing the smart thing through investment. This will not make them leaders they need to be. But someone will take on the leadership role. and leave them in the dust.
Joe Favorito is one such thought leader they need to listen to.
Related Link(s) (external links open in a new browser window)
- Will College Athletics Lead Or Follow? Depends On The Leader (Sports Marketing and PR Roundup)
- Will Potential NCAA Decision Lead to College Athletics Arms Race? (Eye on Sports Media)