I’m tired of reading posts by the tech press as well as paid, and self-described analysts where the writer or quoted source fails to disclose relationships they may have with manufacturers.
The problem is serious enough I’ve decided to jump on my high horse and slip into my oversized hair shirt. after reading coverage of Apple's new IPhone launch, as well as Google’s into several years ago of Glass.I believe the lack of disclosure is either out of hand or has been forgotten today.
And most of all this includes the all too common practice of seeding reporters and analysts with review units as part of product promotional or branding plans, and not making reviewers, analysts or the tech press disclose the origin of the equipment or how it was acquired.
My complaint is with a new generation of bon vivant bloggers turned analysts/self-described media mavens who don’t disclose their relationships.
I am also appalled that reporters who use industry analysts as sources for stories never ask the important question “Is this company one of your clients? Not to do so is a disclosure failure, I believe
Disclosure is second nature to professional journalists who worked their way up the ranks in the era before social media. Kara Swisher, a respected former Wall Street Journal reporter turned ALLThingsD technology conference producer/editor who now runs the site R/Code with Walt Mossberg is the model of how the media should handle disclosure. Right up front, Ms. Swisher lists her direct and indirect relationships and when she writes about a company’s products she’s always maintained a professional distance and not veered into the “fan advocacy” territory.
As a producer of a Demo conference I never once accepted one share of stock or any other insider ownership warrants for any of the approximate one-thousand companies I launched at Demo.
The idea of crossing what I perceived as hard ethical line, didn’t occur to me. But most of all I was trained in a world where a byline was brand that needed to be protected.
This may not be the case today in technology. And to find out who owns what in Silicon Valley, you need go no further than the CA State government offices in San Francisco to correlate ownership or investments in companies appearing at technology launch events.
My view isn’t very popular amongst some insiders.
In fact, while participating on a conference on the future of mobile computing, I looked at the other panelists and realized we had all been at numerous long lede new product briefings
My hair shirt must have seemed particularly itchy that day, because I asked everyone on the panel if they had purchased or were using review portable computers. the answer was that they were using review units.
I was asked to leave the conference by its producer and i haven’t talked to him since then.
Media audiences have an inherent right to expect that a reporter or analysts is providing non-biased information. unfortunately in the race to become technological media brands, that may have been forgotten.
OK, I’m off my soap box now.--Jim Forbes on 9/26/2014.