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Cash for questions?

Posted by putsimply on 20th March 2008

It seems like 2008 has been conference after event after exhibition so far for those of us working with the electronics or telecoms industries. I’m looking at my diary and trying to find a month when there’s nothing happening. December is looking quite good…..

Whilst attending and preparing for the many tradeshows over the course of the year so far I’ve had a couple of odd experiences with the media. For instance, whilst working on setting up interviews for yet another exhibition I had made my pitch to the press and swiftly received a reply from one journalist to say that they only attend briefings if they are paid for them. This, we are assured, ensures that the company really wants to brief the journalist in question with some important news.

‘Well’, i thought, ‘hold on a minute’. I was under the impression (perhaps naively?) the basic idea was that the press attended these events in order to meet companies who have something new and interesting to say – to generate news and copy for their publications (and maybe push the occasional sales pitch?). If you only take a briefing from companies with pockets deep enough to pay, I would think that will result in some pretty biased information being received?

I had two initial thoughts about this request for payment. Firstly – heaven help us all if the idea catches on and secondly – perhaps we should reverse the idea and start charging journo’s for the time with our clients and watch the coverage roll in? 

Alternatively maybe we should all live and let live – we’ll accept that sometimes we won’t get the coverage we wanted if our lovely journalist friends don’t mind that sometimes the story wasn’t quite what they had expected! 

I’m going to go canvassing (read: bothering) my press contacts in the next week to see why they go to tradeshows. Watch this space for the result, but in the mean time, tell me: Would you be willing to give or receive payment for an interview at an event?