The pomposity of it all

I’ve been working on a review today, one I pitched to a publication a while ago.

I drafted the review a few weeks ago, but only returned to it today afresh after I sought out any others views online.

Discovered one other review, published on a reasonably recognisable platform (that’s as far as I’m prepared to identify the platform), read it and then gasped in amazement at the credit at the bottom.

“[NAME OF REVIEWER REDACTED] was on a press trip funded by [INSERT NAME OF FESTIVAL]”

I get why some platforms feel the need to detail what’s paid content, advertorials, paid reviews, or content marketing. I understand why its important to distance such content from ‘proper journalism’.

But let’s be clear about something. Most if not all international festivals (and a fair few UK festivals too as it happens) invite journalists, bloggers, influencers and the rest to their events with free tickets, and in some cases travel and accommodation. They don’t do it on the basis that they assume you’ll write favorably about their endeavours. They invite (and fund) on the basis that they want some kind of coverage. At least, that’s how I’ve always seen it.

And another thing. The same platform (which I’m fairly certain still doesn’t pay its contributors but happily takes its content) applies for press accreditations for their staff and accepts international festivals paying their travel and accommodation to attend, and yet those individuals don’t flag that their trip was funded by the festival they’re writing about.

Strikes me that such credits are less about protecting the independence and journalistic values of the platform, and more about distancing itself from the individual who has submitted the content in the first place.

Let’s be realistic for readers, festivals, and PRs. There’s precious little money available for writers. The people who are available to attend such events can’t fund their trips themselves, that’s why festivals set aside budgets to pay for writers to visit. That arrangement doesn’t influence my assessment on whether something I’ve listened to or watched. And if you’re a journo who thinks it does, then it probably says more about how easily swayed you would be in such a situation rather than what it says about me.

Such credits essentially discredit everything the person has taken the time to write about the event they were presumably pleased to attend in the first place.

The pomposity of it all.

No. Actually. The hypocrisy of it all. Tsk.

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