I'll go meta for the final post on the topic here. Since it's not a topic that many people might care about, I'll include more after the jump.
I've been involved in pseudo-legitimate media for the better part of the past decade (wow, has it really been that long?), so I'm no neophyte when it comes to the matter of press conferences. I've seen good interviews and I've seen bad interviews, just like I've seen well-run and poorly-run events.
To be quite honest with you, the format of the Big Ten Media Days event has a lot of improving to do.
My main gripe with the event is how long it lasts. While the SEC's season kickoff media event lasts three full days, the Big Ten's edition of same lasts two days. Strike that, two half days. From 10am to 2pm on Monday, and 8am to noon-ish on Tuesday (though the media only had 2 actual hours with their subjects on Day 2).
Why bring the media from all across the midwest to Chicago, then not give them enough time to get all the information they need for their stories? It makes little sense.
The Day 1 event was a series of press conferences, lasting 15 minutes for each coach with two 15-minute breaks inserted therein. That's right, each coach was only given 15 minutes to talk to the assembled media at large. Once again, compared to the SEC, which gave each coach 45 minutes.
45 minutes should be the minimum length here. With 11 coaches (and no scheduled breaks), that would mean an 8 hour, 15 minute workday. Add in an additional 45 minutes for a lunch break, and you're at an even 9 hours. Sure, that's a little longer than you're standard workday, but attending a press conference is hardly the most strenuous task, especially since most journalists probably don't care what Bill Lynch has to say.
Speaking of which, 45 minutes may seem a bit long for each coach, and it might be for some guys. If Bill Lynch gives his opening statement and answers 3 additional questions, he might be done after 12 minutes. Great, give everyone a break until the next coach is scheduled to speak (protip: shcedule Lynch right before the lunch break).
While the format of Day 2 was set up much better, with all 44 team representatives (3 players and the head coach for each team) sitting at round tables, waiting for the media vultures to strike and ask a series of boring questions, there was still a lot to be desired. In fact, running with the theme here, there just simply wasn't enough time.
My mission was to ask just a couple questions of each player. In 2 hours, I had time to get through just more than half of them. This clearly means that there simply wasn't enough time in the Q&A sessions. Never mind that I didn't even attempt to talk to any coaches, since I would have had to wait more than 15 minutes to get a single question in.
Of course, this isn't the Big Ten's fault, or the venue's, but there are some seriously rude journalists (to both the players and to other media representatives) among those who cover Big Ten schools. The main offense (committed with gusto by Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) was crashing in on a table where a fellow journalist, just trying to do his job, has been waiting patiently so as to not be an asshole and interrupt an ongoing interview, and having no such manners yourself. I understand you're trying to do your job, but so is everyone else, and they're managing to do it without disrupting each others' work.
Would I Go Again?
Despite the... deficiencies... with which the event operated, I would certainly go to this media event again. Especially armed with the knowledge that a year of experience at the Media Days brought me, there is value to gain from attending. Just ask the Michigan Daily, who needled Rich Rodriguez into offering that the lone remaining opponent on the 2010 schedule would be a BCS-conference team. Sure, there's room for improvement, and it's far from a priceless event, but it's absolutely a worthwhile one.