Press Cred

I was checking out the speaker line-up for BlogWorld and New Media Expo after hearing all the Twitter chatter for the Oct. 16-17 confab in Las Vegas. It looks like a great event, and I’d certainly love to attend. After all, this blogger’s been at it a while, bowing in the spring of ’05 “in a Gawker moment.”

Still, it’s a bit surprising that a show called BlogWorld retains its vitality in an age where Twitter, Facebook and the ascendant Friendfeed, Posterous and FourSquare increasingly dominate the digital discourse. In fact, some prognosticators have thrown cold water on blogging as a viable or minimally, monetizable medium.

The most popular blogs — from HuffPost to TechCrunch to Glam — have already morphed into the mainstream (albeit with their own journalistic sensibility) — while the solo blogging acts may one day evolve into personal “lifestreams.”

But, back to BlogWorld. My buddies over at Shift Communications are handling press inquiries and credentials for the show. For them, I have one question: why would one need to credential any journalists when there are hundreds if not thousands already registered? Here are the posted requirements to grab a cred:

Complimentary Editorial Media badges will only be issued to reporters who are directly covering the show in an editorial capacity for a recognized business or technology news source. Topics must directly relate to coverage of the show, Internet trends, blogging, podcasting, new media, social media networking or online marketing and communications trends. Editorial topics in other industries (politics, sports, leisure, social, etc.) qualify the individual as a traditional show attendee, not as press.

I’m wondering what constitutes “a recognized business or technology source.” As a blogger who follows the media and communications industries with a reasonable dose of technology, would I even qualify? Or does the phraseology imply that “complimentary editorial media” badges are for the mainstream only?

The question of whom to credential and who not has always been a murky decision even in an era when we didn’t have a myriad media with which to contend. For example, we used to limit event photo credentials to only those on assignment from a “recognized” media organization. No photo agencies or shooters-on-spec need apply. Today that policy is untenable considering the reach of Getty and Corbis. Shift further qualifies the qualifications:

Note that editorial credentials will be issued to individuals who are covering industries of blogging, podcasting or new media. Indirect relationships will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for coverage and credential availability.

So, with all the equivocation, the credentialing policy still provides some wiggle room, and rightly so. I’d just hate to learn that the blogger sitting next to me grabbed a press cred, while I was rejected.

Update (10/3) Rick Calvert, founder and head of Blogworld and New Media Expo, weighs in:

“At those events and at BlogWorld & New Media Expo we have to be especially thorough in determining who gets a press pass. No matter where we draw the line it will always be a subjective one. One mans press is another mans blogger looking for a freebie…. So we ask lots of questions. We are looking for media outlets that cover the business of media both old and new. We have turned down traditional media applicants because we have determined they want to come to the show to learn about new media. Not cover the event.”

More of his remarks in comments below.