FIU faculty senate discusses Miami Herald controversy

Photo by Ben Stanfield, courtesy of Creative Commons

Camila Fernandez/Assistant News Director

Members of the University community received an explanation about the recent conflict with The Miami Herald over media access at the Faculty Senate meeting.

After the University decided to deny media credentials to the beat reporter last week, the newspaper took a stand and did not cover the Saturday football game.

Senior vice president of External Relations Sandra Gonzalez-Levy attended the Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2 to explain the University’s reasons for banning the reporter.

It is a rule by the athletics department for media to consult the office of Media Relations before athletes are allowed to be interviewed, she said, and most colleges and universities have this type of rule.

The University claims that the beat report, David Neal, who had covered FIU for about three years, had been interviewing its athletes without consulting media relations, Gonzalez-Levy said.

The Miami Herald reported that their Managing Editor Rick Hirsch sent an email to FIU’s Athletics Director Pete Garcia, asking for evidence of unprofessional treatment.

Garcia did not respond.

After the ban on Neal, the newspaper decided to call out the University for their decision in an article and did not cover the University football season opening game, even though other Miami Herald reporters received credentials.

“It is unfortunate because the game and our student athletes, they really left their heart out there on the field on Saturday,” said Gonzalez-Levy.

Thus, the game was not covered properly, she said.

According to a letter to the editor Gonzalez-Levy wrote to the Miami Herald, the University had brought up concerns about Neal’s “antagonistic interactions” with athletes, coaches and staff.

Gonzalez-Levy said disrespectful coverage of athletes had happened numerous times, and that Neal had an attitude.

Although he was not credentialed, the reporter was allowed access to the FIU Stadium as a member of the public, she said.

Later that Tuesday, after the meeting ended, the Miami Herald reported that the University had decided to credential Neal for the remainder of the season.

“The fact is, we never want to go against the ink,” Gonzalez-Levy said. “Who controls the ink, right?”

About the Author

Camila Fernandez
A FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communications Student - Began working with Student Media in 2013.

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