Unwilling to wait for the mountains of praise when Teddy Football becomes the next Aaron Rodgers (if God is from Minnesota), one Vikings official tried to demand it.
Fargo Forum reporter Adrian Glass-Moore was assigned a story about a rookie Vikings cheerleader. Hardly a searing expose on the seedy underbelly of NFL pom-pomming, it was a light profile on a North Dakota native who made the squad for the first time – a NoDak rarity, says Glass-Moore. The tailor-made puff piece was timed with several Fargo appearances the purple pyramid climber was scheduled to make.
But before giving the green light, Vikings cheerleader co-coach and appearance coordinator Theresa Baugus had a few ground rules that were published on noted media reporter Jim Romenesko’s blog. The one that rattled Romenesko’s journalistic following was one asking Glass-Moore to promise it would be a “positive promotion” of the cheerleader, the squad, and the almighty Minnesota Vikings.
Sorry, Minnesota Vikings, but that's not the way it works. https://twitter.com/aglassmoore/status/638110215620161536
“I was definitely surprised,” Glass-Moore says. “I thought it was an absurd request. I mean, I’m used to certain organizations trying to find out what I’m writing about or trying to get a sense for my story to see if they want to give me access. Usually they’ll do it in a subtle way, try to feel out if what I’m writing is going to be a hatchet job, which it wouldn’t be.”
Since agreeing to be an organization’s stooge is a journalistic no-no, Glass-Moore rejected the request (via Twitter) and killed the story.
“I wasn’t trying to expose any wrongdoing at the cheerleading team or anything, so I don’t know why they reacted like that,” Glass-Moore says. “But as soon as they gave me that email I just couldn’t write about it. That was an automatic deal-breaker, even though I’m sure the story would have been a nice little profile on this cheerleader.”
Following orders from his editor, the second-year reporter reached out to Baugus directly, rather than the Vikings' PR henchmen who typically facilitate or pooh-pooh interviews. One said henchman didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment. However Jeff Anderson, the Vikes’ executive director of communications, offered this explanation to a Forum editor on Twitter.
In response to our query, Anderson reiterated that Glass-Moore's interview request was not made through the proper channels and that the team's PR gurus would not make such stipulations.
"In this case, the request was not made through the Vikings public relations department but instead was directed to a cheerleading appearance coordinator who is not familiar with journalism expectations or etiquette," Anderson said in a statement. "The Vikings have never and will never expect to control the tone of a reporter's story. Internally we will continue to ensure that all members of the organization understand and follow the interview request process we have established."