Dear Cricket Australia’s Media Accreditation Team,
My name is Dennis Freedman and you have chosen to reject my media accreditation application for the second year in a row.
It’s the only time I’ve gone back-to-back with anything in life. I haven’t felt a sense of achievement like this since I worked out how to use emojis in text messages.
This is what you emailed me:
There is nothing more heart-warming than receiving a pro-forma rejection letter.
Last year you rejected me as well. Here’s that letter and my reply.
Apparently, last season, your press boxes were planned to be full. But just like your over priced Test match tickets, you kinda got that wrong. We know that the boxes weren’t full because the “accredited” journalists kept posting photos from their workplace. Unless the guys from Fairfax and News Corp came dressed as cloth covered seats, most of the media areas were consistently under utilised.
My favourite bit about last year’s press box antics was that bloke who surfed porn for a few days during the Boxing Day Test. Did he get accreditation again this season? Maybe that’s my mistake? I’m yet to watch naked people fornicating in the workplace. Please tell me James Brayshaw isn’t getting accreditation?
Anyhow, this year, your pro-forma went into some more detail. Essentially, unless you are writing daily match reports, there is no room for you. Not that you have that disclosed as a condition of gaining accreditation anywhere. It’s like when you are refused entry to your favourite nightclub due to wearing the “wrong shoes”, even though those same shoes were not an issue the previous Saturday night.
Taken on face value, being there just to write daily match reports is such a narrow view of “journalism”. Actually, it’s not even journalism. It’s boring reporting. About as exciting as elevator music.
People want opinions. They want their thoughts reflected or challenged in print. No one wants match reports anymore. They get these in real time these days via Twitter and SnapFace and illegal video streams.
Let’s take a look at your published “Qualification Criteria”
CA will exercise discretion in issuing accreditation.
Good. We wouldn’t want that porn watching reporter back now would we.
Factors considered in exercising this discretion may include, but are not limited to:
– Whether an applicant works in a recognised news or sports publication, agency, or website which is available to the general public;
I’ve got this one covered.
– Whether the applicant is known by Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa, Cricket New Zealand, Pakistan Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket or other affiliates recognised by Cricket Australia;
– Safety and security concerns;
Ok. I concede there may be a risk letting me near anything like live electrical outlets or where there is glass, but we can work through those issues
– Genuine issues of space;
Let’s lose the facade and just acknowledge that this probably exists for two days in the whole season
– The need to ensure representation across international, national and local media;
I write for them all, like most freelancers.
– Appropriate consideration as to the reach of a media organisation’s coverage, and for news agencies, the scale of client base.
The Indian and Pakistani news agencies I play with are generally reaching a bigger cricket audience than local Australian ones. Just a guess. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot the radio show. You see, since we last traded letters, I’ve done a few exciting things that you should know about.
I host a weekly national radio show on digital radio. People driving home from work around Australia get it live in their cars. Other listen live in their kitchens while preparing dinner. Well I assume they do. It is probably just background noise, but at least it is background noise about cricket.
There are even those who take the podcast, including a leading South African radio station. I believe the Saffas are touring this summer right?
I only know of one other live weekly radio show on cricket and they are based in the UK.
Cricket is struggling to get media cut through in many markets due to newspapers cutting heads and paywalls blocking TV coverage. I thought at a minimum, you might want to support some home grown guy discussing your sport live every Tuesday night? Did I mention that the podcast is also leading the charts on iTunes for cricket shows globally?
I’ll mention my column in Pakistan. The guys I write for there are the largest circulated English speaking newspaper in that part of the world. Apart from its print circulation, its web readership globally is bigger than your latest broadcast deal. Pakistan are about to tour Australia. It could have been a great fit.
Then there are the Indian publications, but no one cares about cricket over there.
The problem I’m now left with is that I have to rely on Channel Nine’s coverage to write my copy and plan my radio show for not just the media houses above, but others around the world that chose to distribute my drivel. No man who values his mental health should be forced to work in this way. My legal team tells me it is probably a breech of the Geneva Convention.
It also means that I have to buy my own over-priced and underwhelming food at the venues rather than gorge of free press feeds. No one should ever be forced to buy sushi from a vendor in a grandstand on a 35 degree day. It’s just not safe. This point is rather insular and self-serving, but it is still a point.
The cricket fan is also now unlikely to get someone asking Amir at press conferences why he deserves a second chance for match fixing, or quiz Misbah how close he was to walking away from the team due to Amir returning, or querying Philander if he thinks his World Cup Semi Final selection due to the South African quota system is fair or solicit from Wayne Parnell how life has changed since converting to Islam. Most importantly, who is going to ask Mitch Marsh why he deserves to be in the Test team.
If you would like to meet over a coffee to re-assess my application, I’m happy to do so. It is a short trip for me to Jolimont St.
But you have to buy the coffee. I’m just a lowly cricket writing freelancer. We don’t get paid very much.
Looking forward to you totally ignoring me until next year’s rejection letter.
Two Time Cricket Australia Media Accreditation Rejectee