Daily Archives: September 10, 2007

Am I a Member of the Press?

Or are you?  Or is any blogger?

Darren at The Common Sense Gamer is on his “big question” horse again.  Today he wants to know if bloggers are members of the press.

My answer is simple yet obtuse.  You are a member of the press if you want to be.

Seriously.

I cannot come up with any universal litmus test that will determine if you are a member of that nebulous body we call “the press.”

There are lots of possible criteria that people throw around, but all of them are crap.  Some popular ones:

You get paid to write.  No, that makes you a professional writer, or perhaps just a good writer, but that does not bestow upon you some magical “press” attribute.

You work for an organization that is part of “the press.”  This begs the question.  What organizations are part of the press?  There was a time when television news was not considered to be part of “the press” by newpapers.  That did not make it so.

You have a degree in journalism.  A typical cliquish answer. A lot of people who are clearly in the press do not have such a qualification.  Try Samuel Clemens.

You focus on reporting just news and facts.  Bah! Much of the press is nothing but commentary.

You meet a certain standards of quality.  Read an article in your local paper about something with which you are intimately familiar.  Count the mistakes made by the reporter.  Imagine now that a similar number of mistakes occur in every story you read.  Compare this to the size of the tiny “corrections” column printed daily. Cringe in horror.

People at X event will give you a press pass.  Dear Lord, do we want event organizers determining who is a member of the press?  Besides which I am sure you can find examples of accredited members of the mainstream press not getting access to every event they desire.  Do you suppose people from the Mountain View Voice get full access press passes to GDC on demand?

So, having thought this through a bit, I defy anybody to come up with some sort of criteria that determines who is in the press and who is not that can be tested and confirmed.  I do not think there is any hard test which would separate me from Eric Sevareid that would not also exclude people we would all agree are members of the press.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that makes you a member of the press is that you believe you are and act like you are. 

People may challenge that belief.  Some may say that you are not very good or not objective.  Some may question you qualifications. 

But only you can disprove your belief.

And, to answer the title of this entry, no, I am not a member of the press.

But only because I say I am not.