The author of the Deep Rough recently wrote about his experience applying for media passes to the 2007 Sybase Classic, an upcoming LPGA event. Unfortunately, though, the agency handling public relations for the event turned down the request.
Not too long ago I used the LPGA’s media site to request media credentials for an upcoming LPGA event in New Jersey. The media credentials (for those of you who may not be familiar) would simply give me the the opportunity to properly cover the event, do some interviews with players, event coordinators, take some pictures, etc.
Ok, so the event may be losing $30 in ticket sales. But wouldn’t some positive publicity for a tour that isn’t exactly the most popular in the country be worth more than $30? I can understand not wanting to hand out credentials to organizations who may shine negative light on your business. I’m just not sure why you wouldn’t want to foster ‘grass roots’ coverage of your events by the blogger community. It’s not like someone blogging the event would go there and then say it was an awful experience.
After further email exchanges, Deep Rough found out from the contracted firm, Octagon, that it was explicitly against the LPGA’s policies to grant media passes to bloggers.
From Octagon’s PR Manager:
The LPGA reviews and processes all media credential requests. I received an email stating that it is against their policy to provide credentials to blogs and therefore they would be denying the request
Incidents like these are classic examples of the Are Bloggers Journalists? issue, something that we recently wrote about, in the light of proposed legislation that includes provisions that bloggers engaging in journalistic activities be also given the same benefits accorded to mainstream journalists.
I’ve had a similar experience before, when I helped a colleague apply for media passes to an international sports event held in Beijing. We applied as the webmaster of the local team’s blog, doubled as the team’s official website. And we were granted the passes and press IDs. Of course, there was also an application fee. But then it was worth it, since press members were given benefits like free Internet access, press tables, access to the floor and coaches, and the like.
I share the same concern as Deep Rough’s. It’s understandable if event organizers are afraid of bad press coverage. However, if they’re against grassroots reportage, then that’s another thing altogether. Sounds like they’re afraid of losing the $15 per person entrance fee if everyone were to apply for press credentials as a blogger.