Todd Dybas, a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune and a contributor to SI.com, was repremanded by the University of Washington on Sunday during the Huskies 85-63 win over Loyola (MD). Did he leave the area to which the press is restricted? Did he eat too much free food? Was he openly cheering for the visiting team? Talking too loud on his phone? Nope, he tweeted too much.
Also, tonight I was reprimanded by the University of Washington for tweeting too much during a live event.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) November 12, 2012
It turns out that the university has a policy which only allows credentialed media to send 20 tweets during a basketball game. And the university "reserves all actions against Credential Holder, including but not limited to the revocation of the credential. UW and its designated personnel shall be the final authority on whether a Credential Holder or Credential Entity is following the Live Coverage Policy."
In other words, they monitor your tweets. And count them on a clicker.
Nonsense? Of course it is. Should a public university be in the business of regulating how much content can be produced by reporters? This is a move to protect their brand, and hopefully drive users toward their content, but I fail to see how the university feels threatened by this:
Sunday night revelers heading for the exits. Washington up 79-61.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) November 12, 2012
As a credentialed member of the media (not to U-Dub) I decided to see how I'd fare under this policy. So I went back to the Florida State game during which I was live tweeting last night and counted. It turns out I sent 15 tweets (no ban!). But I also had six more twitter mentions that were only to one person (answering questions, debating, etc...) and since UW and its designated personnel are the final authority on whether a tweet is indeed a comment on live action, I'll guess I'll have to wait for a ruling. Fingers crossed.