THE SILENT SCOOP

MEDIA For a college paper, it was a tremendous scoop. On September 19, SMU’s student paper, The Daily Campus, reported in a copyrighted story that Southwest Conference college presidents were pushing to implement a rule that would not allow student athletes scoring under TOO on the SAT or earning less than a 2.0 grade point average (Prop 48s) to play in the conference. Yet no one outside the university heard about this, the strictest admittance policy in the nation, until other media reported it October 8, when the presidents themselves announced it. Why?

Good question, say the editors at the Campus, They say that a copy of the story was faxed to the Associated Press office in Dallas, which then would have been responsible for distributing it to alt the AP’s media subscribers, which means just about everyone. The story, however, never made it on the wire.

While editors at the AP’s Dallas office confirm receiving the fax, no one there remembers reading it and no one can turn up a copy. In hindsight, assistant bureau chief DAVID PYLE says the service “probably” would have run it. “I do want to stress,” Pyle says, “that we treat the news we get from our college members the same as we do anyone else.”

That’s good, because the AP is the lifeline between Dallas’s major media outlets and campus papers. The dailies largely rely on their beat reporters to check out the school papers, and otherwise it’s hit or miss. “I think it’s a helluva nice story for them,” says Channel 8 sports anchor DALE HANSEN, “and it’s unfortunate that the AP didn’t pick it up.”

Pyle says the problem could have been avoided had someone from the Campus followed up the next day. But no hard feelings. DREW MOSS, the story’s author and an editor of SMU’s Friday paper, The Weekend Edition, says he’s not too concerned. “It would have been nice for the story to have been published [in other papers],” Moss says, “but I’m just glad we got the story first.”

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