Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What's wrong with this picture
I went to a recent New England Podcasting meetup in Framingham at John Harvard's Brewhouse. I love it there. Good beer AND good food. Plus, with podcasters, you get good people too.
This evening, a reporter showed up with a notepad.
"What's your name?" she asks.
"Steve Garfield", I replied.
"Where do you live?" she wanted to know. I told her Boston. "Where exactly?" she pressed.
I replied with a question, "Who are you and where are you from?"
If I'm going to be answering probing questions about the exact whereabouts of my house, I'd like to know who is asking.
When I interview people , I usually introduce myself first. Seems like the polite thing to do.
She told me that she was a reporter from the Boston Globe and writes features for the West Weekly section. Since I wasn't a resident of her coverage area, she wasn't interested in me, and turned to someone else at the table to grill.
This reporter was just doing a job.
She wasn't interested in me as a person. She just saw me as raw meat, an ingredient for her story. By turning her back on me upon finding out that I wasn't in her coverage area, she hurt my feelings.
I think that points up the difference in professional newspaper writers vs. bloggers. She obviously was writing this for a story, had an angle and was doing it because she was being paid to do it.
On the other hand, I was there to meet people and to socialize. I was interested in meeting as many people as I could, and in listening to their stories. I was there for the love of both meeting others and of podcasting. She wasn't.
LET THE PICTURE TAKING BEGIN, OR NOT
A little while later, the reporter started taking pictures.
Nothing unusual about that. People are taking pictures all the time, at blogger meetings, podcast meetups and at videoblogging meetings where video is taken too. So that's pretty much the way life is these days. We all take pictures of things and people that interest us and post them up to flickr, where we can then share them and then post them on our blogs.
So as the reporter started to take a picture of the people at table, I brought out my camera to get a picture of her taking a picture of us. Pretty standard operating procedure for a flickr photo loving blogger who is also into documenting the way media is made.
As I raised my camera, she shielded her face and said that she didn't want her picture taken.
She was upset.
She fled the room and hurried into the next room, out of sight.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH THIS PICTURE?
She wanted to take pictures of us, with no compensation, to put in the newspaper, where the paper will make money, but I can't take a picture of her?
I've encountered this before.
To me, it seems like we are being used and that she felt that she was better than us. Above it all. Wanting to take but not give back. Well it really doesn't work that way anymore.
It's only fair that if the press wants to take our pictures and put us in their newspapers, that we have the right in exchange to take their pictures and put them in our blogs.
NOW SOME OF THE PODCASTERS ARE MAD AT ME
After I upset the reporter, some of the local podcasters were mad at me. Not all, just those that don't 'get it' yet.
They wanted to know why was I antagonizing the one person who was here to help them. A reporter from the great and powerful Boston Globe which was going to promote podcasting and bring the New England Podcasters fame, fortune and new members.
I'm all in favor of good press, but at what cost?
WHICH PLATFORM PRODUCES MORE HITS?
I'm not sure that a newspaper article in a publication that hardly ever includes links to websites will actually be a good form of promotion. The Boston Globe has a long history of not including live URL's in the online version of stories where the main topic is a website.
On a side note, the Four Eyed Monsters video podcast got more hits from a mention in my Vlog Soup video blog then they got from a mention in the New York Times.
Better promotion for the New England Podcasters would be blog posts by members, on their own blogs, linking to each other.
As a matter of fact, at the end of the meeting I asked the New England Podcsaters webmaster to start a blog, which he did:
I think some podcasters miss out on a good form of promotion by only having an RSS feed or an iTunes subscription without an associated blog.
Blogs also allow podcasters to have a discussion with their listeners in the comments. Lots more podcasters should have blogs...
I'll be interested in seeing how the Boston Globe article on podcasters comes out and wonder how much promotion it'll actually give the group.
This blog post will probably give them more hits.
Click this link to the New England Podcasting new blog and let the counting begin.