Monday, August 14, 2017

Challenge Accepted: Bloggers Need to Level Up to Deserve a Spot as Credible and Competent Media

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"Look, everyone invested in this thread seems to want a seat at the big boys table. And, why not? There is money to be made, opportunities to be mined, goals to be met (whether you're in it for a byline, a paycheck, a commission, a sponsorship, an endorsement deal). But realize that this is a competition. We are not here to hold hands and sing Hamilton songs in unison while gazing at each other. We are here to ensure that we are experts in our chosen beat because that is how we add value for our readers. I, for one, would love to read about a pasta called Croxetti, in the hopes of tasting some one day on the strength of a writer's informed recommendation. I would skip a half-assed "This is what I did today" puff piece, which only really works if you're a celebrity living under a fanbase microscope (Tangina, almusal ni Benedict Cumberbatch kanina adobo flakes! Shookt!)." - Karlo Samson
The intention of a trad or mainstream media for posting the story below on his Facebook wall is probably good. However, some of the side comments of this thread starter and most of the comments from his Facebook friends are not. It only put bloggers (both his friend and the two others) in a bad light because we can see here that it's a blogger sharing negative stories about other bloggers who met at an event.

There is something wrong when a guest questions why there seems to be other guests that are not fit for an event they were all invited at. Do not question anybody's presence because maybe you are the one who is not appropriate for the event....or they are special friends with the event organizers...Lol!

The thread starter also cited social media feeds where PR companies can be seen asking bloggers to sign-up at their events in exchange of GCs, and likewise cited bloggers asking for others to represent them at events. He never mentioned what's wrong with those incidents but he must be somehow implying that those were unusual or wrong.

Though another fear of this mainstream media is that the same type of clueless bloggers may finally get the chance to enter Malacanang (due to the recent announcement that the government will now start accepting bloggers as valid media), he forgets that the same issues he has cited has been around for ages even for trad media. We all know also that even the President himself questions trad media's credibility. Now that the government is considering bloggers, there might be some people threatened to further lose opportunities for their publication.

Wazzup with the "Freebies that end up for sale or for barter online" statement? Is he trying to insinuate that there are bloggers that only exists for freebies?

Bear in mind that we are not trying to make this a bloggers-versus-trad media issue, it just so happens that the thread starter is a member of the media and people involved in the issue he raised are bloggers:
"A friend, a well-respected food blogger told me recently that he was surprised to be seated next to two obviously new bloggers in an exclusive event. He said all the two did was complain about the quality of the food. During the event, the duo loudly agreed that the butter tastes so bad that they told my friend not to try it. To my friend's surprise, the two were referring to Croxetti, a coin shaped pasta with intricate design patterns.
When the mushroom pasta was served with Cabernet Sauvignon, they both agreed and told my friend that the host should have served Coke or Pepsi instead because mushroom pasta and cola are the perfect match.
My blogger friend was completely baffled. How did these clueless bloggers -- who obviously do not know anything about Italian food -- got invited to an exclusive Italian food tasting event?
If you check your social media feeds you would see PR companies looking for people who are interested to blog about their clients in exchange for gift certificates (GC) and other freebies.
It is also common to see bloggers looking for other bloggers who could represent them in an event in exchange of whatever freebies they could get. Freebies that end up for sale or for barter online.
I hope this won't happen in MalacaƱang :)."
I don't know what that event was.. But again, it is the responsibility of the event organizers to screen their invited guests. If they want to invite newbies at their event, then maybe they have good reasons why. It is not up to bloggers to question why they were invited. That concern should be addressed to the event organizers.

Do you really think this so called well-respected blogger is now still respectable after he or she shared this story to the trad media? Does this blogger know that this trad media shared his or her story? Looking down on others is not something to respect. This blogger should have made friends with the two other bloggers and shared his or her "expertise" instead. That way, the bloggers would know immediately that they were wrong in their declarations.

Once I attended an event where both the top blogger in his category and another top broadcasting company reporter knew nothing about what was going on. I had to explain it to them. So it is not always achievable that attendees of the event, regardless if they are newbies or the leading media, would be able to come prepared especially if they have lots of events.

What the thread starter say is "It is not the responsibility of anybody to educate other people in an event where everybody is expected to know what they're doing. It is not imperfection, it is stupidity to go to an event where you know nothing about. This is what separates men from boys, women from girls. Real bloggers know what is waiting for them in events they are attending, freeloaders just look for free food and loot bags. What are you?" - Art Samaniego

Another media commented that "If your profession is to relay news to your readers, you learn to do it right before you go out there. If, however, you do it do get freebies and loot, showing up is usually good enough." - Ren Alcantara 

Though I agree, there are many cases when you simply don't have enough time to do such. The mind is willing but the body is weak. Getting 3 hours or less of sleep everyday is not helping. When you have too many events that you don't want to miss, you get a lot of pending articles to write or videos to edit and upload, that you don't prioritize researching on your next event. They have to understand that most bloggers do not have editors who assign or schedule them at assignments. Bloggers try their best to maximize their time which often leads to overworking themselves. We can't help it if we are exerting too much effort because there is nobody above us that would moderate us for a healthier, more convenient and thoroughly productive output.

With regards to the implication of wanting freebies or loot-bags more than the news or story, in my case, I attend events because I am genuinely curious about what is going to happen, to be launched, to be announced, to be tasted, etc. This is why we are more on the experiential. We welcome all invitations regardless if we are familiar with it or not. The more "unknown" it is, the better for our curiosity. This is why some are hyper and seemingly exaggerated in their expressions and gestures at events because it's probably their first time to experience such.

Remember, unlike mainstream media who mostly had formal training or education related to the field of journalism, most bloggers do not have the same background. We should instead encourage the bloggers to improve their craft, not by ranting against them but by appropriately guiding them towards the right path. Starting a thread discriminating bloggers is a big NO. You may think you are trying to improve the community but it's just putting bloggers (both parties) in a bad light.

The "news" we're relaying should be more about our experience - not exactly too technical, not exactly too detailed. I believe that is what differentiates bloggers from journalists. We should be relaying a different viewpoint of the "news" and not trying hard to be journalists. This is also why brands invite a combination of media and get stories of various point of views.
"I can understand bloggers wanting to experience new things, but if I were PR or brand, I would require a bit of expertise from the people I invite to my event. There is a marketing spend, and warm bodies who don't bring anything to the table are just a waste of money." - Karlo Samson
If media and bloggers are really only after the news or experience, then we wont't be seeing media waiting or falling in line for  their "envelopes" or loot bags, freebies, tokens, etc. Just as politicians who aim for public service, I doubt many would still run for a position when they only receive basic salaries.

We believe bloggers do try their best to be competent ...but pardon us for not being as experts as media practitioners are. We need your guidance, instead of your hate. We are not as trained as you are, but it is never our fault if we get invited to an event that we are not experts in. That is entirely the decision of the event organizers.
"Hey guys, don't mind me. However, is it a bit sad that we have to hope that others help us to improve instead of taking the initiative ourselves? I mean, I'm not a blogger but I guess this applies to people in general.
Also, life is unfair and far from ideal. Nobody owes you a piggyback ride. Before waiting for help, learn to help yourself first." - Neps Firmalan
The point here is.. This thread only put both parties under a negative light. The blogger friend should have just taken the initiative to "educate" the other two bloggers by introducing them to the dishes they mistakenly understood, instead of sharing it to you. That way, maybe the next time they meet, they will be better bloggers. We don't just rant about the imperfections of others. Yeah, the others' professionalism may not be our responsibility, and that we are not here to spoon-feed and show them how things work, but If we are really concerned for bloggers to level up, critics should make an effort to level up too.
"A lot of the quality control issues surrounding certain bloggers and their output can be mitigated with professional editorial oversight. Sure, you've got a great work ethic and you may have a story to tell, but may lack the command of communication skills. Or, you spread yourself too thin be trying to be everything for everyone, when you clearly excel in a single niche, if only someone managed your content calendar for you.
Question: would a blogger pay for that kind of editorial oversight service?" - Karlo Samson
The statement above is a challenge to all the bloggers out there. He has a valid point, and bloggers do need to level up if we want to show them we deserve a spot as credible and competent "media".

I am just trying to speak out, as a blogger , for bloggers.I don't know everything. I just share based from what I know and experienced. We do not prefer that we just nod to everything that others have to say because we have our own thinking, beliefs and mindset. Let us be responsible for our own thoughts, words and actions.

All that trash they keep throwing out to show their place is cleaner than ours, will always be around them no matter if they are biodegradable or not. But if they try to recycle, make use of what seems to be junk already, then they may not need to throw out anything. Everything in our homes could be useful if we only use our creativity...and heart.

But as what a media has said ... in the end, this is all about being in a competition. Each one of these publications are actually competing with each other. They may not show it at events, and seems to be friends with everyone else, but still their ultimate goal is to be leading and ahead of others.

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1 comment:

  1. I am never in competition with others except with myself. Bloggers who write and promote better than Trad media should be paid well as we all aspire that day will come and has come for a lot. The problem is the crab mentality is still out there everywhere. I am not to seek awards or just to please brands. I just hope we all can respect one another. I believe there is an overflow of blessing from God for all to share. Respect na lang sana and walang basagan ng trip. Ross, another well-written article and thanks for fighting for the voice of the digital media!


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