Yesterday I talked about the Patriotesque way the Chicago Bears seem to be handing information getting out to the media in our Day 1 Recap. Reports on injuries seem vague and if you like to follow #Bears coverage on Twitter, you may have noticed the Tweets were fewer than previous years.
That's because there's a new policy in place limiting what the media can report from training camp.
Head coach John Fox doesn't want certain things being reported on while the Bears conduct training camp at Bourbonnais, so some rules have been given to the media. Ed Sherman, media columnist of the Chicago Tribune, goes over them in this article, but here are a few highlights.
- Television stations and photographers won't be allowed to shoot any video or photos during team drills. They can shoot stretching and individual position periods, but even then the Bears request the cameramen "shoot tight."
- Reporters can't blog or tweet any "team strategy or injury specifics" during practice. For instance, the guideline says, "No reporting of which players are practicing with individual units."
- There will be no player availability off the field after practice, another departure from previous years. Reporters now have to put in a request for an interview.
Reporters also can't report on a lineup switch that takes place during practice, instead they need to wait to speak with Fox after practice for a clarification.
Bears' fans have been spoiled in recent years with so much information available, but these new policies are more in tune with what the rest of the league is doing. It also seems that Fox and GM Ryan Pace aren't going to be as forthcoming with specifics like their predecessors were.
Bears' Vice President of Communications, Scott Hagel, discussed the change in policy.
"This time was coming," Hagel said. "The Internet is not like it was 10 years ago. It's a different world. It is easier to see and gain access to certain things. We want to make sure we're smart with what we're doing."
"You might be shooting a specific guy, but perhaps there's something going on in the background (that could be revealing)," Hagel said. "There are tells throughout the league, and the coaches and scouts are pretty savvy. We want to make sure we protect ourselves."
"Everything gets thrown out there these days, and then you try to stuff it back in," Hagel said. "We want to allow Coach Fox to explain what's going on."
While this makes sense from a strategic standpoint, it's obviously a problem for fans and media alike. The media feels handcuffed by the limitations and the fans won't get as much of their Bears training camp fix.
Some reporters are obviously upset that they can't tweet anything out during training camp, while fans attending Bourbonnais can. The media can't film certain aspects of practice, but any fan with a smart phone can, then share it on social media.