Definitions and pontifications in the blogosphere

Gabe Moretti chimed into the discussion on whether bloggers are journalists this week and made some valid statements, although I don't entirely agree with him.  Essentially he says that the only people who should get press credentials at a trade show should be people from the traditional press and that all others should be given a secondary level of access that is no more than exhibitor level.  I don't necessarily disagree with that, because the only reason I'm going to DAC to do interviews for EDA Cafe, SoC Central and New Tech Press is because I don't have to pay to get in.  I would have been happy with an exhibitor badge, but I will make use of the press pass to dig stuff up and get a quiet place to record interviews.

However, I'm not real happy with the idea of keeping a hard and fast definition for who gets a press pass.

I'm not sure Gabe realizes it, but by his definition, he should not get a press pass.  Gabe doesn't work for the traditional press any more.  His job is to promote DAC.  He gets paid to put together the DAC newsletter with the express purpose of getting more people to come to DAC as exhibitors and attendees.  I'm of the opinion, however, that Gabe does provide valuable information to the industry and is therefore a journalist.  Gabe's definition also excludes people like Richard Goering, Steve Leibson, Brian Fuller,and Mike Santarini, because they are either getting a corporate paycheck or are consulting to companies about communication strategy.  It also makes participation questionable by Paul Dempsey at EDA Tech Forum, and Ed Sperling from Extension Media (Chip Design) because both publications' content is heavily influenced by corporate sponsorship.  (That position, BTW, is not mine.  Those guys deserve to be considered journalists still).

By Gabe's definition, on the other hand, I should receive a press pass because I am not there to represent a client (I have none in EDA).  I am there looking for information to post on the various blogs I write on.  What's more, I am not being paid by anyone to cover anything at DAC.  This is all on my dime.  But I know there are a few of traditional journalists who think I should not get the recognition because I've been a PR dude in EDA for a while.

So here''s the thing about bloggers and why they should get the same access as journalists (whether you want to call them journalists is moot).  By limiting the definition to only those from the traditional press, you severely limit the number of people who might actually cover the news of the industry.  There just aren't many left, folks.  But most of the bloggers in EDA are doing exactly what traditional journalists have been doing for the past 5 years when it comes to news coverage -- rewriting company press releases.  They are just doing it from an insiders perspective if they are corporate-paid, and from a customer perspective (like Harry Gries).  That makes their input even more valuable to the traditional journalist because they don't have to ferret out sources anymore. They can get the input they need on company products from what the bloggers write about and quote them.  In essence, thanks to the blogosphere, traditional journalists don't really have to go to trade shows like DAC.  They can ignore press releases, not take meetings, just go to the technical sessions and blow off the trade show altogether.

I think it's a paradigm worth considering.  And we should all keep an open mind for the time being.