The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley

September 29th, 2020| Written by: Staff writer




Robert Burns wrote about plans that "Gang aft a-gley" (often go awry) in 1785's To a Mouse.  In using it I am referring to my efforts to obtain media credentials for the 2021 state championships.  "Often," Burns wrote, not "always."  Hence, "hope remains" (said Galadriel before Boromir, Haldir and Theoden die, and Frodo gets his finger bitten off).

The Louisiana Wrestling News appears to be on hiatus of late, but I assure you it is not. 

LHSAA Media Policies and Procedures

A lot of things are going on both personal and wrestling related.  My daughter's COVID-vacation to Georgia looks to be permanent, which means new auto and health insurance, driver's license, ad infinitum, and sending her things until she can retrieve them. 

My initiation into the world of the "weirdly visually impaired" just means something new every day.  (Again - rod-cone dystrophy - who gets that?)  Lowering light levels and glares does only so much to help, but eventually there is simply not enough light for Steve Austin's bionic eye to see anything.   A Mr. Burns-like "blocking out the sun" scheme ( just during the day, mind you) has come to mind.

When not dealing with such things, I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out a way to be approved for LHSAA media passes for the state championships in February. 


So far:

I decided to approach the matter from a different angle.  For the moment that option is privy to only a very few, and I do not believe I should share any information about it at this time.

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LHSAA Media Policies and Procedures

The LHSAA has kept me busy since September 18th when they emailed me a copy of their "Media Policies and Procedures" document.  (The entire document may be found by clicking here.)  Only four sections may be applied to the LWN:

  1. The introduction mentions "bona fide" media representatives and "reputable" news gathering organizations.  It fails, however, to define "bona fide" or "reputable."  Later, it does the same with "legitimate;"

  2. There is a section entitled "Media Credentials for State Tournaments."  In essence, this section lists five reasons why the LHSAA would deny media credentials.  One of the bulleted items reads "Social Media Pages."  That was it, though..."Social Media Pages."  Have one, do not have one, have "Likes" or "Followers?"  They did not go into detail.  (FYI - The Let The Louisiana Wrestling News Photograph the State Tournament Facebook page was started in January of 2020 and has 561 followers.  RomaPics Facebook page was started in February of 2017 and has 144 followers.  (I want my fish!);

  3. The next section is entitled "Media Credential Limits."  This states pretty fair numbers (usually two or three) for media outlets who provide the amount of wrestling coverage they do every year.  What interests me is that "Websites/internet new outlets are considered on a case-by-case basis."  This allows for the LWN, which I hope you agree provides the most, if not the best wrestling coverage available, to not have a set number of writers or photographers who can obtain media credentials; and

  4. Then there is a section entitled "Photography."  It has to be read in full to be truly appreciated.   The sacrifice of all that is the Queen's English to make the conceptual leap from the first sentence to the last one is mind-numbing.  It is apt to makes people, when they close their eyes, see the "Windows blue screen of death," or make basic math problems look like "2+3=coelacanth." 

"The LHSAA prohibits the sale of photographs from LHSAA state tournament events, and will not credential any photographers whose photos will be used for any purpose other than legitimate media coverage.

Photography is only to be used by legitimate news gathering agencies.

RomaPics is responsible for distributing and selling photos
at LHSAA state tournament events" 

(Highlights inserted by the writer).

The guidelines are little different than they were for the 2019-20 guidelines except that I do not recall RomaPics mentioned last season.  I looked up definitions for "bona fide media representative" and the like and usually was led to United Nations websites.  But I saw one for the Society of American Journalists, and it led me to Dr. Mike Giusti, the head of the Journalism Department in Loyola's Mass Communications college.  Dr. Giusti went through my arguments with aplomb, determination, relish, zeal...well, OK...GUSTO!  He found the LWN website to be lacking in none of the areas the LHSAA states would disqualify a media outlet from receiving media credentials.  He said it fits what the LHSAA actually wants better than most, considering the subject.  He also suggested the tactic I am now trying.  (He did not understand the "Social Media" item either.

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Again, as the guidelines were little different than previous ones I was not going to pay much attention to them, but then I saw the item before "Social Media Pages."  It started that credentials could be denied if the media outlet showed a "lack of editorial oversight." 

That, of course, appeared to me as an unwritten challenge, the kind that might have inspired Zeus to yell "Let loose the Kraken."  (Zeus would never had said that, by the way, as the Kraken is a beast from Norse, not Greek, mythology.)  In my case, I had no alternative but to put an umlaut on my name and change into
Martin Müller - Grammar NAZI!

I decided if the LHSAA was going to cite "lack of official oversight" to deny media credentials to any life form more developed than fungi they should practice what they preach.  While I know I do let mistakes slip through my proofreading grasp, I do know it is not for a lack of effort on my part.  The five-page LHSAA document (not including the cover page, which appears to have been designed merely to waste ink and/or toner) proved to be a great example of why Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar checker should be relied on as much as a surprise invasion of Holland devised by General Sir Bernard Lee Montgomery.

The more I parsed the more "corrective" (a kinder, gentler word than "punitive," I believe) I decided to be.  Some errors I would simply highlight by using red text.  Others, I deemed, required more than that, so I found a red crayon font to highlight those.

Now I am familiar with the 2013 University of Colorado study that concluded grading (if done at all these days) not be done in red.  Red makes students uncomfortable.  It is "confrontational" and "threatening."  It can make them think they have done something wrong.  Well, they did.  A red traffic light means "stop."  A red pencil or pen mark means the same thing, except that being caught in such an errors does not lead to higher insurance premiums.  Precedent for using red as a sign that something is wrong goes back as far as 1966.  When Will Robinson was in danger in Lost in Space Robbie the Robot's chest blinked red as he warned Will about danger. 

After two days and about 10 hours the copied pieces of the document I was emending consisted of a sea of red that not even Moses could part.  I knew after the first day I would not publish that.  For me, however, it was a cathartic experience.  I would like to say it benefitted me in a "Know thy enemy" manner, (General Sun Tzu in the 5th century B.C.), but I did not expect anything more from such a document and I am not one whose words will initiate a change.

Anyway, a "plan" is still being considered by those who may join the cause.  But have someone write-up a petition for your school or area anyway.  In doing so, keep the year 1791 in mind, as well as New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971).      

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