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Media perks?


saturday97
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I'm considering some research on fansites (especially ones that include reporting, like your photo trip reports). I am interested in what criteria is necessary for a fansite to be considered to be considered a media outlet by corporate entities (I am probably going to focus primarily on Disney).

 

Since I lurk around here quite a bit, I thought I'd start by asking you guys...

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Here's a bit more information for you.....

 

I can tell you that very, very few sites get invited to Disney events. Not even Screamscape, which had an article on this a few month ago get invited.

 

To be honest, even though we get invited to most ride openings and media days, we rarely go. We find we can get more out of meeting up with a park's PR representative on a day outside of media days. We'll post the information they send us, but unless a media day is local to us, we normally go another day.

 

For what we need to do, everyone is so busy on media days that it's hard to get the attention we need for filming, etc.

 

But on a normal operating weekday, for example, it's much better for us.

 

We're also not the type of people who really care to go around and brag about "we've been to such-and-such media day...blah, blah, blah...aren't we cool? We ride such-and-such ride FIRST...blah, blah, blah...." That's just not really our style. If there is a real "news story" or an update to be had, then we'll go. But usually we can get that and MORE from going to the park later in the season.

 

You also need to be "established" before parks will start sending you stuff. We started the site in 1996, and I don't think we really say media day invites until like 2000 or 2001. So don't expect to be all "Hey! I have a website now!" and all of a sudden park press releases and media invites start flowing in. It just doesn't work that way. Most sites that get invited have been around a long time.

 

If a media day is convenient for us, we'll go. But I don't think we've been to a media day outside of a So Cal park since 2001 or 2002.

 

--Robb "Hope that helps!" Alvey

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What a great response, thanks so much Robb!

 

Yes, I was particularly interested in your take on this practice, as you guys don't seem very "starstruck" and take more of a critical approach to park info. It makes sense that you prefer to report on your own terms. I've also been looking at bloggers as journalists, press credentials for bloggers, etc.

 

Again, thanks! I really enjoy the site and appreciate all the hard work you put into it! I'll keep you posted on where this research goes!

 

Amber "I swear I'm not always a big research nerd!" Hutchins

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Yes, I was particularly interested in your take on this practice, as you guys don't seem very "starstruck" and take more of a critical approach to park info. It makes sense that you prefer to report on your own terms. I've also been looking at bloggers as journalists, press credentials for bloggers, etc.

I think the reason I don't get very "starstruck" is because of what I do in my "day job." I've been working in interactive entertainment for years and I run into "stars" on a somewhat regular basis to the point where it just doesn't phase me anymore when people like Tony Hawk or Snoop Dogg are walking through our offices.

 

Although I do have random funny stories of William Shatner sitting on my desk and me thinking Tim Allen was a gaffer, but that's for another thread!

 

While what we write can be considered "critical", I'd like to think it's more of an "honest" approach. Yes we do like to post as much positive reports as we can at parks, but the reality is not everything is going to be smelling like roses.

 

I've had experiences with some parks where they will say "if we invite you to a media day, you can only post positive reports." Personally I don't agree with this practice. Film studios don't invite the press to a movie premiere and expect ONLY glowing reviews. Sometimes movies do get "two thumbs down." But they get "press" regardless! Some one of the most panned movies often are HUGE hits with the audience.

 

I think one of the reason why more people have been turning to message boards and blog sites rather than the actual "news", especially for something as specialized as theme parks and roller coasters, because people want the *REAL* story.

 

I know when we go on a cruise, we check out cruisecritic.com for insight on what other people are saying. And just because we may read a bad review of something doesn't always change our minds about doing a cruise, but it will help set our expectations.

 

As an example, we have been criticized for some of our reviews of Six Flags Magic Mountain. And while we have been VERY positive in reporting some events (the Tatsu campout as a good example) we will also be very honest on days that aren't so good.

 

We would never suggest to someone "don't go to Six Flags Magic Mountain" but we would certainly want to help them set realistic expectations.

 

I would hope most parks would understand that this is actually a helpful resource for people to come away having a better visit to a park.

 

Hope this gives you some more info!

 

--Robb

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More great stuff, thanks!!

 

The Shat! And Tim Allen in a, ahem, supporting role! You'll have to tell that story sometime! I have a Comic-Con story about the Shat, too...

 

I can see where a free pass here and there and a psedo-event would pale in comparison to Snoop and Tony Hawk strolling past your desk!

 

Yes, I have found that many in the film industry, as well as even some gov't agencies only grant access to media who guarantee postive coverage. This is an area of PR ethics that I am also interested in. Fansites provide a perfect component for this process, as the "reporter" has already demonstrated positive feelings about the product/ company (with a few exceptions, of course).

 

BTW, the definition of "critical" in the nerdy academic world is more like "honest" (sorry for the confusion!) which is certainly how I would categorize your content: you are just as likely to see the good as the bad. Which is how journalists are supposed to behave, however, as you point out, the public is skeptical about a reporter's ability to remain objective and hence the popularity of bloggers and citizen journalists.

 

Great info! Thanks!

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