A funny thing happened at Sprint’s CES invite-only event tonight. Online media after online media were conveniently left off the list… after receiving personal invitations.
It’s pretty clear what happened here. Dan Hesse was there, and someone realized that online journalists and bloggers would ask tough questions. PhoneNews.com has lost count of the number of times we’ve asked for interviews with Mr. Hesse. We’ve even gone as far as to ask repeatedly starting several months before an event.
At tonight’s debacle, we provided our PhoneNews.com and Newsroom Network credentials. I even showed them the emails where we RSVPed (in two separate emails, no less). But, to no avail. After wasting an hour (yes, a full 60 minutes in transit, walking, and waiting) of our time, they decided to hold a “separate but equal” event for the online media, sans all the stuff they didn’t want us to have access to.
Anyone who can recall what happened to the African American community, knows how separate but equal fails miserably. We won’t be going. Back in 2008, the CEA tried to relegate CES online media as merely “bloggers”, but backed down after just one year, letting journalists choice their identities and accommodations.
Now, in the past, Newsroom Network had a “morons of the show” award. And, technically, we still do. But, instead, I’m going to try something different this year.
Instead of aborting all coverage of Sprint at CES, we’re going to cover them. But, we’re also asking for them and Stanton Communications (the people that managed this debacle) for a formal apology.
We don’t really care where it’s posted, say the @Sprint twitter feed, or on Stanton’s or Sprint’s PR web sites. Doesn’t really matter… we’re not asking for grandstanding, simply a note that they dropped the ball and won’t do it again.
And we’ll keep reminding them of this, slowly posting this from one site, to twitter feed, to the next. Even on places where it doesn’t quite make sense… spreading the word until it clicks in people’s minds.
Because, that’s our job at Newsroom Network, to inform so companies improve. Other members of the media just take it… we don’t. It’s why we report and advocate to the consumer, and when companies waste hour(s) of our time… we have to hold them to account, no different from when they waste your time.
Update: Sprint did issue an apology to me for the problem at CES. Stanton Communications claimed that they didn’t receive our emails until weeks later, when we had started to contact Sprint representatives directly (having not received confirmation of our RSVP). They also claimed that the fire marshall was preventing them from letting additional people in, something that was not stated to us by Stanton at the event.
Since CES, Sprint and Stanton have treated us with the high level of respect that we’ve come to expect from Sprint media relations, they’ve clearly worked to demonstrate that this was a one-time mistake.
Good, I’m a Pixi user, and sprint fan. I stand behind you on this. I think you deserve an apology. Especially as a reporter who has been invited your time shouldn’t be wasted. Cus that hour spent waiting could have been another story you were reporting about, for US. I love you Sprint, but suck it. C’mon be a man and apologise.
You guys sound like the biggest babies alive.
How does this make them babies? Go ahead and keep bending over and let anyone take advantage of you. Thats probably what your good at.
Did you really just compare your problems as a blogger to the struggles of the African American civil rights struggle? And you wonder why Dan Hesse wouldn’t want to field any questions from such quality media outlets.
You do realize that if bloggers aren’t considered press, then the freedom of the press to uncover things like the wrongs done during the Civil Rights Movement… just died a little. If Sprint wants to treat bloggers as second class journalists, it needs to be exposed and corrected. That’s the only comparison we made.
And we stand by it completely.
I’m seeing another…”gadget” site with Sprint’s coverage and taking pictures of Dan and Steve. Do they have different kind of access to that event (sine they’re also considered “online media” from my perspective), or Sprint singles out a few?
I totally agree. I stopped reading after that point.
Just because you have a blog doesn’t make you a “first class” journalist. Anyone can start a blog. Can I start a blog and demand unrestricted access to these events too?
Although I do still have doubts about the quality of the bloggers of this site, this action by Sprint doesn’t surprise me. Look how they lied to you and their customers about how to opt out of their contracts without paying a ETF. They are now telling customers to wait until the next billing period to call and cancel their service which will be, of course too late. This is again Sprint falling back to it’s old ways of going under while dragging their customers down with them.
It’s upsetting that there are people out there like Mr. Price that are defending YOUR rights, fighting for YOUR benefits and giving YOU information to help YOU but instead people like you turn around and attack him and what he represents. Mr. Price is significantly more than just a blogger. Look into it. You’ll find he’s done a lot more than simply write a weblog. In case you can’t find anything, read through PhoneNews .com and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of how much more he is than just a blogger. Now, I don’t know Mr Price personally but you definitely owe him an apology for your misinformed and insolent comment. Perhaps you can even post it in a blog you can start up.
I just can’t fathom why these situations keep coming up, especially with Sprint. They’re dropping the ball in so many corners but are they even remotely giving any sort of reasoning behind any of their actions. Ever since the New Year, most of their smartphones have opted to make text messages show up as if it was 2016. They’ve been doing nothing but telling people to wait for a fix and that they’ll eventually have an answer for it. “Eventually” gives us consumers plenty of time to lose the trust we placed in them. Their behavior towards “online media” does the same. I’ve been with Sprint for over 5 years now but frankly, how can I trust a company that’s done EVERYTHING we’ve all complained about recently without remotely and honestly fixing things?
Thanks for always keeping us up to date, Mr Price – Not everyone may appreciate it, but a lot of us do. I know my friends and I definitely follow all your sites. You’ve helped a lot of us throughout the years and in our minds, you are significantly more than an online blogger. An online Hero is more like it. Sprint may be failing us but we know you won’t.
To clarify, members of the online media that are owned by large corporations obviously were not turned away at the door. Several independent journalists were.
But that is not the point here. The point is one of Sprint’s PR firms extended to us an invitation. We spent a full 60-70 minutes venturing out to cover their event. We RSVPed twice, and proved to them at the door that we did RSVP. The fact that Sprint’s PR firm mismanaged the event is not even up for debate.
All we are asking for is that the PR firm that Sprint hired, issue a simple formal apology. This has nothing to do with one site versus another, nor should our integrity as journalists be questioned here… that should not have any relevance when you are invited to cover something.
If said PR firm didn’t want us there, they did not need to invite us, and had months to cancel on us before the event. We will not stand for abuse because we are not owned by AOL or Time Warner, and we will name names.
You are correct to be offended – Sprint and their PR firm did not treat you fairly. However, your comparison of a journalist’s amendment rights to the struggles of African Americans is way off-base and devalues your message.. You reached big time with that comparison and it came off as pompous, melodramatic, and ignorant (as did your justification of the original statement). It’s okay to admit that you went overboard while maintaining that you are justified in your anger towards Sprint and Sprint’s PR firm, pointing out they were wrong in how they treated phonenews.com and other online journalists, and exposing them for it.
One thing I don’t understand, Christopher, is how an apology from Sprint and/or their PR firm will matter? I think exposing Sprint and their PR firm is good. But does asking for a formal apology accomplish anything, other than further devalue your position and portray yourself as petty?
Your reply all boils down to the thesis of you can’t make everyone happy.
When we awarded people “morons of the show” it was declared petty. If we keep it to ourselves, then it winds up being “bending over and taking it” as someone described above. We’re trying something new.
The separate but equal analogy is not pompous, the case I cited is the most salient correlation in American history, and if the online media is subjected to the same standard, the consequences could be just as devestating. Bloggers going to jail because they reported on a topic that NBC could declare freedom of the press over.
If you think that’s an exaggeration, ask how close Jason O’Grady came to being sent to jail, because he was “just a little blogger.”
The Framers made clear that if we start parsing who is the press, it will tear apart the freedoms of this nation. The civil rights movement was just as important, and again, I fully stand by the analogy. If we don’t hold to our values on either, then the nation is at great peril. Businesses, like Sprint’s PR firm, need to be held to the same account as our government… and the analogy can then repeat itself again.
Stanton Communications sucks.