“Blogger” is a new badge here at CES, given to about 200 people who registered as bloggers rather than press. However most of the bloggers here are under press badges and have been coming for some time. The early word – totally anecdotal and unofficial – from several CES and sponsor folks I had a chance to talk to include these observations:
* Bloggers are nicer than mainstream journalists.
* Bloggers more readily accept the giveaways, and thus are seen to be more subject to manipulation.
* Press people were upset that initially they could not get into the blog lounges but bloggers were allowed in Press areas. This policy was quickly changed to allow press to blogger lounges, which were very comfortable.
* Gizmodos early scathing critique of CES is already being discussed at some length by CES insiders. Hmmm – I’m noting they have toned down the coverage yet fessing up to some prankish BS. Hmmm – can all bloggers and all suits mix happily? No, all can’t but most can.
* Some big sponsors were complaining about the bloggers.
Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea featured the Blog Bus and Robert Scoble. I have high regard for Robert’s blogging rules. He’s highly credible but recognizes that you can’t eliminate all bias from the reporting. Generally he just lays it out for folks to judge – this is a good standard though I think we should develop a blogging *disclosure* policy where you can expect others to call you out if you pander to a sponsor without disclosing relationship. I don’t like the idea of some complex “code of ethics” because I can guarantee that far too many people would just sign off and then violate the code, making the most honest folks seem the least honest)
* I’m struggling with the *ethics of blogging* issues myself. Readership here is up about 400% during the conference. Should I be extra nice to Plantronics because they gave me great lounges, work areas, lunches, and some gadgetry? Monster because they threw two great parties and were very nice about inviting me – three if you count the “after party”. SONY for the great bash at Hard Rock last night?
As I’ve pointed out many times before the line between pay to post and the nuanced “lobbyist” effects is impossible to draw clearly. I like *real journalist* Kara Swisher’s superb disclosure policy, though disclosing a lot more than most of her fellow big time journalists would do. There was a prominent tech reporter at the SONY party last night and I’m hoping to get some comments from him via email about how he treats the CES giveaways.
Ultimately I think you need to trust the person you read to keep it legitimate, but bloggers, and certainly journalists, probably should go further as Kara has and really lay things out on the line. You cannot eliminate bias in reporting – but you can … report it.