Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Should bloggers get press passes?

The NY Times reports controversy involving professional sports reporting - including if those who blog (only) are entitled to press passes. Mavericks basketball team owner and blogger Mark Cuban said no, was over-ruled, and decided rather than just admit those from "credentialed news organizations" he'd let anyone who blogs have potential to cover them. So that means me. In the locker room. Too bad I don't care about basketball at all. I'd probably only ask them if they ever met Joe Namath.

But I'm sidetracked ...

The range of issues between press and organized sports includes: "how reporters cover teams, who owns the rights to photographs, audio and video that journalists gather at sports events, and whether someone who writes only blogs should be given access to the locker room."

These may all likely evolve at associations:

1. If you invite press to events, can any blogger attend, or only those from "credentialed news organizations"?
2. If you invite members to participate in committee or board meetings, or focus groups, do they have rights to blog about discussions, including quoting those present at the meeting without their knowledge or consent (even if don't "name them") - see this ASAE post;
3. If you blog, do you expect to be able to attend events as press?
4. If you blog, do you expect to be able to tape seconds, minutes or hours of anything you attend as a paid or invited guest - and then post the video/podcast?
5. If the introducer says "nothing may be recorded", is that enough to stop someone who wants to anyway? Is it a request or a requirement? Who has rights?

My crystal ball is that fewer people will publicly engage in industry discussion in the future as the audience turns Internet reporter - and everyone's accountable/recorded for any given sound bite. I could be wrong of course. But I don't think so.


Lisa Junker said...

Great post, Cindy!

At my last job, where I was in the department that ran the press room at our annual meeting, I would definitely have given press passes to bloggers. My criteria was that the blogger had to have posted regularly on our industry for at least six months--since so many blogs start and stop in less than half a year. Unfortunately, there weren't many bloggers in that industry then, but I bet there are more now.

I would probably have given bloggers more comprehensive guidelines than I gave our usual press contacts, since I wouldn't be able to assume that they had the same journalistic background that a traditional reporter does. Your recording questions are good examples; you might want to include in the blogger guidelines that taping outside of the officially sanctioned recordings of sessions is only permitted if you get the speaker to agree to be taped on tape. (That's our practice for Associations Now interviews, for example--if we're taping, the interviewee must agree to be taped on tape.)

Have you had any bloggers covering your meetings? How did those experiences go?

Shayboarder said...

Great post! I've been trying to uncover more information about bloggers as press from a sports perspective, snowboarding. Reading this was a tremendous help, thank you!