Daddy Dearest: Courant's Hiring a Younger Auriemma

Alysa Auriemma to be a "celebrity blogger"

Alysa Auriemma, the 23-year-old daughter of UConn coach Geno Auriemma, will soon be writing about dear old dad and his award-winning team for the Hartford Courant's online news site -- a move that has raised the ire of some, objectivity issues aside, since it could be perceived that the Courant's paying for some incredible insider access.

The Courant has been no stranger to ethical controversies recently, like last week acknowledging its practice of taking stories from other papers without proper credit. 

Late Wednesday night, after a flurry of stories about her hiring, Courant sports editor Jeff Otterbein appeared on the pages of the UConn Women Basketball blog to downplay the younger Auriemma's role.

"The Courant never expected that Auriemma could or would cover the team as a reporter," he wrote, insisting that the plan was for her to serve as a celebrity blogger once a month.

"In the beginning," Otterbein continued, "there was no discussion of payment but when Alysa Auriemma asked, I thought it fair to pay her $125 for each installment on the website, an amount we routinely pay a freelancer."

The pressure may be getting to the younger Auriemma. On her Twitter page, she wrote:  "For the last time, people… I was never going to COVER the team. I'm BLOGGING about the team. Fun vignettes from the bus! MY GOD."

On her blog Thursday, Ally wrote about her surprise that the Associated Press article "was vastly misconstrued," and that she "was misled of its true meaning." 

Local media-watcher Duby McDowell, of fame (and five years ago, NBC Connecticut fame), was quoted in an AP story online:  "if you had told me this a year ago, I wouldn't have believed you.  But the way the upper management has been wiling over the past few months to dismantle the newspaper's journalistic reputation, it doesn't surprise me."

In a moment of apparent introspection, Otterbein, the sports editor, wrote, "The question remains if paying the daughter of the coach to contribute to the website is a sound decision. ... We will re-evaluate the relationship going forward and are interested in our readers' opinions." 

As are we.


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