Ben Cohen

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Duke Offers Its Own Story

By the end of the 2007 season, the negative media attention had finally become too much for Mike Krzyzewski. His Blue Devils were just removed from a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when he gathered his staff to talk about strategies to move forward, and basketball wasn’t the sole focus of Krzyzewski’s attention.

Duke’s loss to Virginia Commonwealth had been more than a mere March Madness upset. Because it involved Duke-and because it was a Duke loss to an unknown mid-major on the country’s biggest stage-the mainstream media and blogosphere pounced. Message board posters and bloggers celebrated Duke’s demise with vitriol, and there were even rumors of reporters cheering in the press room, the industry’s ultimate taboo.

So Krzyzewski and his team decided to use the Internet, the force that furthered Duke hatred, to control its own message better.

The program already had a magazine, Blue Planet, that served as a promotional product for recruits. Krzyzewski advocated turning to the Web-a suggestion that eventually resulted in the creation of DukeBluePlanet.com, the program’s standalone Web site that features compilations of top plays, video blog posts from players and behind-the-scenes access afforded only to members of the program.

“It’s not so much controlling your voice. It’s having a voice,” Krzyzewski told The Chronicle. “I’m 61 years old. I don’t even understand all the voices out there…. But the fact is, they’re all out there. We needed something to tell our story correctly, because there was so much misinformation.”

>>ONLINE

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