Cochran to MLB: Credentials policy must change

The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) has cried foul over restrictions the MLB has placed on how electronic journalists can cover teams online that are part of its credentialing policy and has asked MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to rescind the strictures immediately.

In a March 26 letter, RTNDA President Barbara Cochran said the association found the revised 2008 MLB terms and conditions of credentials unacceptable because they “extend well beyond any reasonable attempt to balance the editorial and business interests of the media and MLB.”

In general, the association finds the new rules are at odds with the principles of a free press, the letter said. They also intrude on the legitimate newsgathering role of radio and TV journalists and will work to constrain how local stations will distribute news about teams to fans, she said.

Specifically, the association objects to several changes in the MLB credentialing policy, including:

  • restrictions on how much video or audio can be posted online after a game
  • limits on the length of time audio and video may be posted online
  • constraints on coverage of post-game press conferences and interviews
  • prohibitions against the use of audio or video for retrospective or historic reporting

The letter characterized the new credentialing policy as “a thinly veiled attempt to dilute competition from other media to the league’s own promotion of our national pastime on MLB.TV and”

The new credentialing policy was released earlier in the year, but the RTNDA delayed contacting Selig regarding the issue because it believed the league would revise its policy after hearing objections previously voiced by print journalists, the letter said.

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