Top of the Morning, March 20, 2019

Top of the Morning, March 20, 2019

Covering a Division I athletic program can be a balancing act — for those on both sides of the beat. That was certainly the case last week in Peoria, where longtime Bradley University basketball beat writer Dave Reynolds of the Journal Star was barred from covering a media event for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Braves.

Bradley, seeded 15th, opens the NCAA tourney at 1:45 p.m. Thursday against No. 2 seed Michigan State.

Wes Huett, who has been sports editor of the Journal Star since October, said it was unlike anything he has seen in his more than two decades in the business.

"This was new to me," he said.

The story has a happy ending, though, as the paper's access to the team was restored.

How does Huett view the job of a beat writer covering a D-I program?

"We are the eyes and ears, hoping to take our readers to the places they cannot go. It's a tough era for journalism, and we're extremely lucky to have sports reporters who bring decades of institutional knowledge to their fair and unbiased coverage."

Here's more from both sides of the beat in C-U:

N-G beat writer Scott Richey: "A beat writer should work as a conduit for insight and information into a program for a fan base, whether it's good news or bad. Fans want information — anything and everything — about the team they follow. Slaking that thirst is a key part of the job along with finding stories from individual athletes that deserve to be told."

Illinois Associate AD/Media Relations Kent Brown: "I've worked with several coaches who didn't exactly always look forward to talking with media, but at this level, it's a critical part of the coaching position. Coaches at this level understand the importance of sharing their message with fans, alums, recruits and sometimes, even their own players through the media."

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