Sports publicists tackle 'information age'

by Sarah Van Zanten

On Monday night, Dodge College presented “The {Sports} Information Age,” an evening with the experts.  Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising students and sports fans gathered at Chapman University Monday evening to listen to some of the top sports professionals in Southern California talk about their experiences and knowledge about the Sports PR world.

The panel included Reed Dickens of Outside Eyes, sports and entertainment PR strategist and former White House assistant press secretary; Melinda Travis of Comment Communications, PR professional and former sports journalist; Josh Rawitch, vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers; John Black, vice president of public relations for the Los Angeles Lakers; Joe Safety, vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Clippers; and Tim Tessalone, sports information director for USC.

The conversation revolved around the evolving world of sports public relations and how it has affected each of the panelists.  The discussion started with Doug Aiken, Chapman’s sports information director, asking the panel about how the news world has changed over the years.

“The news cycle that used to be soft in 24 hours is now under attack in 24 seconds,” said Safety.  He continued, “Most of the people you encounter during the day have a television in their pocket.  The need to be more vigilant and to manage the flow of information is ever greater.”

Later in the discussion the topic of bloggers came up, and the question was asked about the validity of bloggers and if they deserve to be credentialed and allowed in the press boxes.  Rawitch was the first to respond.


In general though, most are still skeptical about bloggers and their “lack of journalism,” but noted that some have many followers and could be beneficial in some markets.

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