As the power of the Internet continues to grow, like the oceans to the shore, it continues to change the shape of so much of the world around us. One of the many areas in flux due to the web, is journalism. As the internet’s entry-level bar lowered, the number of “press” outlets increased. Anyone could now start a Word Press site, post news, become “published” and request press credentials. As with anything else, this surge became a swell, which eventually erupted. The tightening up of procedures and restructuring by marketing professionals was met with the all-too common backlash of the self-important and entitled masses angry to have “fallen” from grace.
I saw such a calamity when E3 finally set stricter guidelines for press credentials, which allow free entry into one of the most coveted events in the video game industry among other perks. There were a few snags but the new policies were needed. By requiring sites show proof of being a legitimate business, and a steady stream of high traffic as well as consistent and proven content they were weeding out the “PopTart” bloggers and challenging existing sites to up their game. The community of video gaming enthusiasts sites should have seen this as a good thing but alas they didn’t. Let me break it down.
Less pop-ups means more appointments with the companies you want to see. It (in theory) means increased opportunity to be first to publish. It minimizes the locations consumers can find information – driving up traffic to your site. It means fewer unprofessionals pushing and shoving for a picture or “schwag”. So that last one is personal but nonetheless true.
If none of this is of importance to you then continue blogging to your friends and family and be happy with your place on the food chain. If it does matter, then wake up. The popularity of blogging stems from its ease and potential; anyone can do it. Some blogs have gone on to be movies, books, and TV shows. Many have early on exclusive access to movies, games, and more. And of course there’s the free stuff. There is even a potential to make money. We as a people like our 15 minutes of fame and our soapboxes and blogging empowers us. None of this, however, qualifies a blogger as a member of the press.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, journalism is defined as the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media or an academic study of the collection and editing o news or the management of a news medium. While marketing departments and PR firms see a value in some sites and their audience, it is merely part of their grassroots promoting but that doesn’t in and of itself change the definition of press. To date, the press has had to expand to include online media and some, usually very specific, blogs or bloggers. Celebrities and others, even journalists, have taken to blogging, but wouldn’t consider themselves journalists simply because they blog. So why do bloggers get to feel entitled to press credentials to an event?
A blog is defined (again from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary) as a site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. This site is a blog. I write for a news site and I run a new media site; the lines seem clear and defined for me. Truth is, no matter how logical or simple this common sense may be, it is no match for the ego of the one whose sense of entitlement outweighs his actual value.
If as an enthusiast’s site you see more value in your information beyond blogging then why not put forth the effort to elevate your traffic and build reputability? And if you’re upset about the unfairness of your status, don’t emo tweet your reputation down the toilet, string together your semi-coherent thoughts together and post them on your blog.