Chicago news: Media upset with Bears’ new policies during training camp

An excerpt of my latest column for the Chicago Tribune:

You also could access the entire column via my Twitter feed @Sherman_Report


Mark Giangreco was fuming Thursday.

In previous years, WLS-7 would shoot extensive footage of drills during the Bears’ first day of training camp. However, the team’s new media policies limited his crew to shooting only eight minutes of the players stretching.

“The NFL is the most powerful and paranoid entity in all of American sports,” Giangreco said. “It wants to completely sanitize, sterilize and filter every piece of information. … It’s an absurd joke.”

Giangreco was reacting to the new training camp media policies new coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace have instituted. The Bears contend the regulations will help protect their strategic information from opposing scouts.

The new policies only affect the 15 days of training camp before the second exhibition. After that, normal regular-season regulations go into place.

Among the items from a list of training camp guidelines reporters received Wednesday upon arriving in Kankakee:

•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.

Scott Hagel, the Bears’ vice-president of communications, says the arrival of Fox and Pace are “part of the reason” for the shifts in media policies, but not all of it.

“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.”


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