Is press box cheering OK?

            I got a surprise as I sat at Utah and BYU basketball games, last week.

             Young media members next to me pumped their fists when the home team scored and, in the case at BYU, someone was even calling out encouragement from his spot on press row, behind the Cougar bench.

            Most people with a media credential knows about journalistic objectivity. It’s against policy to cheer from the press table. Not only is it poor manners to be screaming while others are trying to work, but it’s unprofessional.

Preparing for another game with legitimate press reps. No cheering here.

Preparing for another game in the football press box.  No cheering going on here.

            In press boxes for football, an announcement is made each game that warns that cheer leading is not tolerated and violators will be escorted from the premises.

But because a basketball press box isn’t enclosed, such announcements can’t reasonably be made.

It’s understood that you don’t cheer.

 Part of the increase (in my mind)  of press box cheering is due to the influx of fan-based websites and team-related social media. In those cases, there’s no real pretense of objectivity. In fact, they’re encouraged to play to their audiences.

            Still, it’s a slippery slope. It can’t be long before bloggers from different teams end up sitting side-by-side, cheering against one another. Then comes the inevitable fight — just like the ones that occur in the stands.

            For many decades, reporters have wisely chosen objectivity. The idea was to report the truth as they saw it, not to be fans. Schools/teams should make sure they’re watching who’s cheering in the press box and warn them. Then kick them out.

               Note to readers: Please let me know what you think. Should cheering in the press box be off limits, or is it time to bypass old protocols and allow media members to cheer for whatever they wish?

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About the Author

Brad Rock

Brad Rock writes a sports column for the Deseret News. Plus this blog thingy, which usually runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you're reading this, rather than his column, stop. Go back. Read his column, too at deseretnews.com/sports. You'll feel better about yourself.

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