It’s been a while since we’ve come across the topic of the thin line between bloggers and journalists. After being involved in one event after the other, I’ve come to realize that this really isn’t an issue between bloggers and journalists, but more of an issue with emerging media – that includes corporations slowly accepting the credibility of other online portals and not just blogs per se. So it really is a “name game” as they say it. Local online networks like Yehey!, Click the City, and INQUIRER.net for instance have become accredited sources of information for different things.
I guess the worldwide online medium needed some time to grow and prove itself as a professional medium – not professional in the sense that it is an industry, but profession in the sense that several entities in the industry can make names for themselves. The industry likes names.
But names can really go a long way, and if that name crosses the line, you have what you call a “scandal.”
We have been informed of inappropriate behavior on the show floor by a credentialed media attendee from the Web site Gizmodo, owned by Gawker Media. Specifically, the Gizmodo staffer interfered with the exhibitor booth operations of numerous companies, including disrupting at least one press event. The Gizmodo staffer violated the terms of CES media credentials and caused harm to CES exhibitors. This Gizmodo staffer has been identified and will be barred from attending any future CES events. Additional sanctions against Gizmodo and Gawker Media are under discussion.
Some bloggers have been working on become accredited sources of information in their own niches. Although blogging and media in the US isn’t as dynamic as the things we have here in the Philippines (comparatively speaking, we have more bloggers attending events – and more importantly, more companies trusting bloggers as accredited sources of information. There is a professional term for this: key opinion leader). I hope nothing like this happens back here. What Gizmodo did is being classified under vandalism:
It’s not for the prankster to decide when they’ve stepped across the line, or when something might hurt someone else. Most of these naysayers out there are profoundly not in the same industry as people can and do lose their jobs over this kind of incident – wether one did or not isn’t the point, it’s that it can happen, and they still decided that was fine.
Is it ok to go into a wedding or funeral with an air-horn? The victims determine when the line’s been crossed, not the person with the horn who said “it was only a joke”.
Bloggers have worked hard to legitimize their existance as journalists, this kind of thing goes a long way to vindicating the naysayers and setting things back. [comment]
Andy Pargh of the Gadget Guru has been covering CES for over 20 years. He writes an insightful comment from the perspective of someone who’s seen CES mature to what it is today:
Many have forgotten how the CES came to fruition. First and foremost, this show, like other trade shows have a single purpose: For manufacturers to get its products into the distribution cycle. However over the years this has changed and the show floor has been overrun, not by dealers and retailers, but by wannabe press people and those not in the industry just clogging the isles. Due to this “mess,” many manufacturers no longer spend the big bucks on massive displays and opt to show their new lineups in private hotel suites. This fact has made it difficult, if not impossible to cover these shows in an efficient manner. [comment]
The point I want to convey is that this isn’t an issue of blogging or journalism. From a wide angle perspective, this is what you can refer to as the growing pains of the industry as it adopts to new kinds of exposure. I agree that what they did was very unprofessional (they had press badges from the reports) but in a way, it is a rude wake up call to trade shows as well that the consumer knows more about what’s out there and shouldn’t be fooled.
Would I do the same thing? Nah. I’ll stick to asking the hard-to-answer questions during press conferences.