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New Media vs. Traditional

Posted by houstoncollector on September 3, 2009

Apparently there’s been so furor over ‘professional’ media (meaning print media, presumably) and bloggers, with the assumption that bloggers aren’t professional, for whatever reason.    I was going to rebut on the blog in question, but as he isn’t reading that thread anymore, probably because he got attacked in the comments, I’ll take it here.

As someone who is a member of the website/blog community, not just for sports cards, but also for video games (for at least as long as you’ve been in college, going on five years now), let me tell you straight up: New Media is capable of being just as professional as print media. The problem is two-fold here, and I’m not specifically attempting to attack you with my comment. First, the sports-card companies are almost entirely beholden to Beckett and (to a lesser extent) Tuff Stuff for coverage and advertising, so they carry a lot of weight. In the computer and video-gaming world, this is much less so, and the PR companies, along with the publishers and developers, have realized this and accepted it, even to the point where some game companies have specific events just for new media. New Media gets press badges for major events such as GDC, E3, PAX, Blizzcon, and the like, just as magazines and TV outlets such as G4, EGM, PC Gamer, and other assorted outlets. In fact, the largest game-related media outlets right now are both online: IGN and Gamespot. IGN is owned by News Corporation while Gamespot is owned by CBS Interactive. Neither of these are considered ‘unprofessional’, no matter how much I might like to take personal digs at Fox News. While the sports card companies have started to respond to the influx of new media, adding us to press release lists, giving out /some/ product to review (admittedly only to 2-3 sites), Beckett still carries a very large stick, and it’s going to take a concerted effort from those companies to give equal status to new media. However, they’ve shown that they don’t particularly want to, with very few exceptions, and when Beckett goes to them with a complaint, they bow to the pressure that Beckett wields. This is a very strong ethical breach on Beckett’s part, in my opinion. I honestly would like to see any of the card companies respond with this statement the next time Beckett “whines”: “We’re sorry you feel this way. However, if you’re going to have an issue with the way that we perform our business and our press relations, we have little choice but to pull advertising from your magazine for the next quarter.” That’s really the only thing that would scare Beckett, but it would require some serious nerves by the companies, and thus far they’ve shown no willingness to do this.

While I’m used to getting press releases from companies in both fields, the lack of access outside of basic information from the companies can be rather frustrating.  Now, in Beckett’s defense (I know, everyone just freaked here), we don’t know if Adam contacted Topps for an opinion on the RPA issues.  If he did, and Topps ignored him, then that’s one thing.  If he didn’t, and Topps contacted Beckett (which is possible), then it’s something completely different.  Still, Beckett has had a track record of ignoring things that they don’t like, so I fully believe they knew about Adam’s postings of 2.5 months ago on this issue, but I honestly don’t know the truth of this matter, and since Beckett doesn’t respond to my email, and Topps seems to rarely do so (along with Panini, Sports Kings, SA-GE and Press Pass), I may never know.

However, the point of this article is this:  Anyone who thinks that bloggers, Tweeters, and anyone else who does their journalism on the internet is not ‘professional media’ has their head in the sand, and probably gets all of their information from newspapers, hours if not days late.  Wake up, smell the double-espresso-moccachino, and get with the 21st century.  Hell, even Upper Deck and Panini have started posting information on Facebook.  Are they not professional media either?

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