As a niche media outlet, I’m no stranger to getting denied press. I get if larger events prefer to have bigger media outlets cover or to have sites that directly relate to the convention’s market and content. It’s just part of life. Though we were rejected for press from New York Comic Con in our second consecutive year, it’s no big deal. We were still able to procure our weekend badges; always have a Plan B.
In light of New York Comic Con’s recent events posted, it is a shame that approved media outlets abuse their press privileges to take advantage of attendees and to make them feel uncomfortable. One such outlet lied to Reed Pop, New York Comic Con’s parent company, that they represented SiriusXM in order for their group to be approved. The now infamous outlet’s actions at New York Comic Con are spreading around the web like wildfire. Potential attendees of comic book con events are afraid that this may happen to them.
I attended New York Comic Con. In fact, I think it outdoes the San Diego event in terms of content and offerings. The vibe is very family friendly – I’ve enjoyed talking to a grandfather from Brooklyn that took his 12 year old grandson at the food court. I enjoyed talking to families that passed by the Funimation booth curious about Wolf Children and debating if Akira is something their middle school son could handle. With that in mind, I very much care about the safety and comfort of attendees.
When the harassment comes from approved media outlets that don that privileged press badge, it gives all outlets – approved or not – a bad name. I normally shoot with dual cameras – one for video and one for photos – I always let the subjects know when photos will be online and have a business card in hand so they know I’m legit. I don’t mind going the extra mile to be information about the outlet I represent, but I also care to give the fourth estate a good name at cons.
It was a little before the con, I learned that Reed Pop hired a third party to approve / deny outlets. The process seemed random. A colleague pointed out that outlets with Facebook pages alone were getting approval. A secondary site that I write for gave me a rejection, but approved my colleague for the same outlet. Both of us have contributed the same amount of articles and work for said site. When looking at media sites for media credentials – as much as numbers are important, content should weigh in just as much. What kind of coverage has the outlet done? Are they in good standing by their peers? Does the outlet have any material that may be offensive to the con’s target market? If content is available, what angle do they go for? If there are photos present, does it show con coverage or does it belittle and bully paying attendees? More importantly, it is wise to have the approved press submit coverage so that the convention press team can discern if they are to be invited the next year.
Not only these are steps Reed Pop’s third party needs to consider, but other convention press departments need to start looking into site content and intended mission. Consequences of offensive behavior or anything to make attendees feel uncomfortable need to be addressed swiftly. There should be no tolerance for outlets that abuse their press badge. A media badge is a privilege, not a right.
scarlet.rhapsody @ ymail.com