‘Is there anyone we can pay to write positive stories?’

Larry Scott, media genius, at work.

The Pac-12 Conference had a publicity problem.

The conference was in deep distress in 2018. It was drowning in negative sentiment after an embarrassing instant-replay scandal in college football. The Pac-12′s basketball programs were coming off a winless showing in the men’s NCAA Tournament. And commissioner Larry Scott’s prized Pac-12 Network was stuck in distribution purgatory, still unavailable to large swaths of frustrated fans.

Said one longtime Pac-12 staffer: “We were incredibly desperate.”

The Pac-12 hired a high-profile crisis-management firm. The conference began working from a 34-page printed manual The Oregonian/OregonLive reported in 2019 — a playbook that directed the conference to “seek to identify positive voices that could shift the conversation.”

That plan further instructed the conference to “expand upon media partnerships” with two primary media platforms — the Los Angeles Times and The Players’ Tribune. According to emails and other documents, the conference struck a deal in 2018 with the Los Angeles Times that aimed to steer $100,000 in advertising to the newspaper in exchange for an expansion in conference coverage…

The Oregonian/OregonLive has obtained internal communications from both the Pac-12 and Los Angeles Times that reveal new details of the partnership. The Pac-12, which long denied there was a formalized agreement, for the first time now acknowledges it signed a contract to provide advertising revenue to The Times.

We interviewed more than a dozen insiders over the last 18 months, including Times president Chris Argentieri and executive editor Norman Pearlstine, who reached out early in the investigation expressing a desire to tell his side of the story.

Said Pearlstine a year ago: “Don’t let the Pac-12 speak for me.”

Pearlstine is now declining comment.

Emails, memos, and a human resources grievance show how the Pac-12 promised special access for the LA Times reporter and how the partnership set off alarm bells inside the news organization.

Unbelievable?  No.  Shameful?  Yes.  Especially you, LA Times.

9 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Pac-12 Football

9 responses to “‘Is there anyone we can pay to write positive stories?’

  1. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Desperation. The Pac-12 and the LA Times prove desperation is a bitch.

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  2. ASEF

    TV Deal Norms Work Their Way Into Print Journalism

    ESPN declined to comment.

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  3. JC

    So many idiots running college football. Geez, Larry Scott must be wizard at digging up dirt on college ADs & presidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. BuffaloSpringfield

    For What it’s Worth:
    Just think I posted the other day that other than the Senator’s treasure trove of 14 years there are not any credible newspapers left. A tip of the hat to you Sir and a cold one.

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  5. Huntindawg

    Larry Scott’s an idiot.
    Or . . . .

    The Pac 12 is in a bad market for college football with too many other sports alternatives, a fan base that is about 1 on the richter scale compared to the SEC’s 10 on the richter scale, they haven’t competed for any kind of championship in years because of that, and it’s caught in a downward financial spiral. And on top of that there was the true idiocy of the instant-replay scandal.

    So what does Larry do to try to repair and rebuild? Anything he can, and try some things he can’t. You can certainly smell his desperation, but I have a hard time blaming him for trying to do something.

    I read this blog every day as a habit and don’t comment too much I hope. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there is a lot of talk here almost every day about a lot of people being either disingenuous money hungry scumbags or idiots that have no place breathing the same oxygen as the rest of us.

    It can’t be that EVERYBODY except SOME of the players are bad guys.

    I guess I’m just fatigued at the negativity from seemingly every direction.

    Can’t you start a music blog Senator? I”m starting to think that would be a better place for me to get a positive vibe.

    Wait a minute, did I just ask if there was anyone I could pay to write a positive story?

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    • Wait a minute, did I just ask if there was anyone I could pay to write a positive story?

      How much we talking about here, H? 😉

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    • I feel that. But theres just so much money with Disney and they influence or control so much. Where’s integrity when AJ Greene gets suspended for 4 games for not even being someplace he was accused of, with no due process, but UF has a NC with murderers and thieves?

      I’ve loved football, but maybe it’s just way to big for its britches. It supposed to be something way different at the college level.

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  6. FlyingPeakDawg

    I’m really struggling to understand why no one believes in journalistic integrity and balance anymore…said no one.

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