Tim Tebow met his fans at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi on Wednesday. Journalists were given these rules for covering the event:
UPDATE: I asked Corpus Christi Caller-Times reporter Sarah Acosta what it was like covering the event. She sends this email:
For the media it wasn’t a picnic. I lucked out and got to take up close pictures and video of Tebow, because our paper had a sponsor table on the field next to the stage, so I was no longer “media.”
So basically the general public had more access to Tebow than the media. We were only allowed to snap pictures of him or video (with no sound) of him walking in and out of the building. We weren’t allowed to ask him questions.
But of course, the four media groups in town- it’s not like we’re NY- it’s Corpus Christi, TX- we rolled our cameras with sound- and tried to ask him questions, for the 20 seconds we saw him. Like- why did you come to Corpus? What’s your message? Asked if he was available for questions afterwards- but he politely declined and all we got was a wave out of it.
My photographer and other videographers from other stations on the other hand had it really bad. They were trying to get footage while in the media section and kept getting scolded or would be asked to put away their camera. We weren’t allowed to photograph him while he was speaking- just the crowd.
Like I said, I got up close pictures of him on stage, because I posed as non-media, but as a regular person seated on the big dollar tables. Like several of VIP ticket holders did, they ran up to him and asked him to sign autographs or take pictures. I was snapping pictures of all of this and took video- and it’s funny because the ticket holders and kids that went to see him were asking him questions like- Are you going to play for the Jets next year? If you’re such a big Dallas Cowboys fan, why don’t you play for them? They got to play the role of the journalists.
Our photographer was able to get pictures of him on stage, because he eventually left the media section, and went up to our suite at the baseball stadium that our paper owns. I believe the other media got frustrated and left.
If our organization, the Caller-Times, hadn’t had the connections like a private suite at the stadium where you couldn’t be bothered or a sponsorship table on the floor of the event, then we wouldn’t had been able to take the pictures or videos we needed.
As a way around it, I live tweeted the event, since we weren’t allowed to record audio.
I do believe though, it was all about Tebow’s management, not him or the organizations that put the event on. The organizations were not pleased with the strict rules his management gave them about the media, because they wanted positive publicity for their event.