Tom Herman has been hard at work implementing new ideas and instituting a new culture of Texas football. He’s now turned his eye to the media with a fresh policy banning social media posting during post-practice interviews.
“Any social media entry should come after the conclusion of all post-practice media interviews have have concluded,” it reads. “Our hope is that you would take time to review your post and re-listen to the questions and answers in an effort to increase accuracy and insure the necessary context in each of your social media reports. We hope this will not only allow everyone more time to craft those commentaries/reports, but also allow necessary time to absorb full context. It will also be beneficial in providing full attention for follow-up questions or the next line of questioning during the actual interviews.”
That a college football coach would want to exert extra control over the flow of information coming from his program is not news. And there’s something to be said about partial quotes hitting social media and spreading like wildfire without proper contextualization. That said, it’s a state school and the move could be seen as too heavy-handed. Journalists generally rebuff any handcuffing of access and, whether Herman likes it or not, they play a role in shaping public perception of how he’s doing his job.
To the casual fan, this is may be a non-issue but one can wonder if it’s a smart move for Herman fire the first shot against the media with a policy like this — one tinged in a bit of condescension. Implied is the suggestion writers are putting out half-formed or misleading information into the public square.
I realize my own bias will always have me lean to the side of the media and open access so perhaps I’m overvaluing the significance of the change. But it does feel like Herman has just made his own job more difficult — and restoring Texas football to its proud prominence is an already tall task.
It will also be interesting to see if there’s pushback on the new guidelines. Media members have been known to be habitual line-steppers.