CES have Banned Bloggers - WTF?

11 comments
Thread Title:
The Consumer Electronics Show opens Minus Webloggers
Thread Description:

From this infoworld story:

"The CEA spent more time qualifying attendees this year to make sure everyone in attendance has a legitimate attachment to the consumer electronics industry, said Kristen Peiffer, a CEA spokeswoman. The show is not open to the general public, and the CEA does not allow the blogging community or other independent observers to attend the show."

and from the GNC post threadlinked above:

I would have went to CES instead they have banned all webloggers, thus I am flipping them the middle finger and will be going somewhere else besides Las Vegas for vacation. See not only will CES miss me, so will Las Vegas miss my wallet and my wife at the Blackjack table. Sure I could have lied on the application but who wants to go where they are not welcome.

Madness...

Comments

I don't get it - Actually... they don't get it...

That's really hard to understand. I can see perhaps them being worried about crowd control, but I don't get the idea of letting traditional journalists in but banning bloggers - who are arguably more relevant to the customers (internet users / early adopters) of CES exhibitors. I wonder if they even asked the exhibitors?

Ian

Oh dear oh dear.

Looks like some PR / Marketing people don't get that bloggers can be amazing advocates of new technology, sprading the word to early adopters and to journalists. And of course blogs (and comments) can provide interesting feedback to manufaturers, including development ideas that can make an "OK" product into an attention-grabbing one.

Hint for the marketing drones: blogs can help you connect with the people who, ultimately, pay your mortgage: the customers.

I posted this on the main CES thread before I found this thread: IT site VNU have some "traditional" journalists at the show and a CES blog .

(Disclaimer: I have a commercial connection to VNU. No, I am not an employee).

CEA: Unfairly Maligned?

Having seen this tossed around for the last several weeks, I think there's an aspect to the entire situation that's been overlooked. A very big aspect, actually; namely the fact that the CEA hasn't "banned" bloggers from attending CES. They were entirely welcome to register as general attendees, which several did.

Now, as for the CEA not allowing bloggers to register as media, as unpopular as this will make me, I have to whole-heartedly agree with their decision. It's an entirely understandable decision. The CEA has to ensure that the limited resources and staff they have can support the needs of working journalists (to give an idea of the enormity, over 1,300 journalists attended on January 9th), so some restrictions have to be placed on who qualifies as media for the purposes of the CES. I'm sure most of us can agree that restrictions are reasonable, even if you don't agree with the specific restrictions the CEA adopted.

While there's a few blogs I enjoy reading myself, with limited resources such as the CEA has, the working media is going to be given priority over bloggers for obvious reasons. Like it or not, there's a clear distinction between what CNET or PCWorld or About.com does and what Bob from Bob's Blog does. Think about it -- if you're a media relation or PR rep, who'd you rather deal with? A publication with editorial guidelines and accountability or some guy off the street? Likewise, who's an exhibitor going to by taking time and expending resources to assist?

Maybe at some point in the future, blogging will have evolved to the point that bloggers can feel slighted by not receiving credentials, but until the format has matured significantly...I have to say "Thank you, CEA."

Thanks...

Thanks JEJoyce,

I'll admit to having quite mixed feelings on "citizen jounalism" and your points are well taken.

Are you involved with the CEA in some way? You sound like you are...

Welcome to Threadwatch, and please do introduce yourself here

"Bloggers" vs. Media

Hey Nick,

Thanks for the welcome. I'd been skimming over a few threads every now and then, but never did get around to registering until now.

Anyway, no, I'm not affiliated with the CEA in any form. I just happened to chat a little with some of the staff over the course of running between the press room and the show floor, or on the way to the daily luncheon.

I think you've touched on a central point with the "citizen journalism" bit. I'm far from a Luddite (though I wouldn't object to being able to go back to not having to worry about SEO), but I think a distinction needs to be made between the technology and the people behind it.

To take the CES example again, and the earlier comments made regarding "traditional journalists" versus bloggers, not all of the media in attendance were "traditional" print media. In addition to a group of us from About.com, CNET had a handful of people present, as did Tom's Hardware. Most of us were filing on a daily basis from the show. Part of what allowed us and CNET to have reports from the floor up on sites so quickly was our use of modified blogging software.

So? Does that mean there were in fact several "bloggers" attending as media, or do we not count just because we're viewed as "traditional" media.

Thanks for clearing that up,

Thanks for clearing that up, JEJoyce.

I agree that you have to draw lines somewhere as long as you have limited resources. Perhaps blogging is too new to qualify as "journalism" in and of itself - there may be bloggers that are journalists, but I can see that clicking a button on blogger.com should not automatically qualify you as a journalist as long as the word journalist actually means something, anymore than buying a copy of frontpage automatically makes you a web developer.

The fact that I've have had letters to the editor printed in newspapers and a blog doesn't mean I'm a journalist, for example (far from it! I think you have to know how to spell, for a start...)

Having said all that, I think there *are* bloggers who would qualify as journalists, and employees of newspapers that are currently called journalists but are an embarrassment to real journalists.

Perhaps some thought should be put into some criteria that should apply to anyone wanting access as a journalist - something more clear than "if I've heard of you or your company, you must be a real journalist", for example. Perhaps readership levels? I'm not sure - I think it would probably be best for journalists to decide that for themselves.

But ignoring bloggers in favor of people who may not even understand technology at all (but are still journalists - I'll bet you if I was a technophobic sports writer with a press badge I probably could have got in) may not be the best way to go in order to maintain credibility...

Ian

Right

Ian, you said a lot of what i was planning to say but then forgot about heh...

Engadget and Gizmodo should have been in there for starters i think. They weren't were they?

There are a few others but those two are the most obvious blogs that could have been given entry.

Definitions and Distinctions

You bring up some very good points. As far as bad "journalists" go, yes, there's always going to be someone like Jayson Blair who chooses to ignore his integrity and journalistic ethics for personal gain. It's unfortunate, but a fact of life.

And while your sports writer example is well taken, the CEA does have a basic safeguard built-in to prevent most of that type of abuse. Specifically, they require copies of two recent (within the last 6 months) articles related to the consumer electronics industry in order to obtain media credentials. There's the potential for abuse, sure (after all, the Las Vegas Gaming Times attended, though I can't imagine what they were covering), but they do what they can.

Now we come to the meat of it. For the sake of debate, we'll assume "bloggers" encompasses everyone with a blog. We come back to my earlier point. Regardless of how popular they are (Gizmodo, for instance), there's a distinct difference between blogging and journalism. Not to say there aren't a few great blogs, but...Again it rises the earlier question that every PR and media relations rep would want to know: Who are they answerable to?

One of the primary differences between journalists and bloggers is that for bloggers, the answer to that question is "Nobody". Well, that and the fact that bloggers can blog about whatever they want to, but that's secondary. As long as bloggers lack accountability and some sort of oversight, I honestly can't see them ever being accepted as part of the media. Editorial integrity is one of the most critical aspects of journalism, which is why we have policies and guidelines regulating our contacts with manufacturers and PR agencies, as well as guidelines on gifts and review products that companies don't want returned. Bloggers...don't.

This has already run longer than I'd intended, but just to touch on the comment regarding readership as a criteria...Something similar's already in place, actually. Circulation (or readership) is widely used by companies and agencies to prioritize media access. For instance, an About.com (with a monthly circulation of around 34 million) is going to be given priority for review products ahead of something like the Podunk Herald (est. circulation 1,500). It's why there are services like Media Metrix and Nielsen to provide independant circulation numbers to the PR sorts.

So, we come full circle to where we started. Until blogging has matured and evolved, I just don't see it happening.

Incidentally, yes. Both Engadget and Gizmodo were in attendance, though as industry affiliates. Speaking of Gizmodo, they might be on the right track with their attempts to go commercial. Now if they can tighten their focus and writing, they'll be well on their way.

?

What is it that you do JEJoyce?

Me

Sorry, I'd thought I'd mentioned earlier, but looking back I guess it slipped my mind. To answer the question, I cover computer peripherals for About.com in addition to some freelance writing on the side.

Pretty much explains why I was at CES, doesn't it? ;) I just wish I'd been able to see more of the show. Didn't get to see a tenth of what I had planned to.

Yeah

That DOES explain a lot! heh...

Dont forget to introduce yourself here - im going to have to re-read your last post in the morning, its too late in denmark to concentrate anymore :)

Cheers

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