Jan 18, 2011

Swag, and Swagger, at the Auto Show

Friday's Detroit News had an article on the "freebies galore" that journalists received during the "press preview" days of the 2011 North American International Auto ShowThe Wall Street Journal also had a blog posting on one car company's popular giveaway.

But how many of these reporters are going to tell their editors -- or their readers -- about the swag they received?

For those who write for blogs, failure to do so could be a violation of the FTC "guides" requiring disclosure of such freebies.  As I've blogged before, this aspect of the guides applies to bloggers and contributors to other social media, but not traditional media.  This is based on the FTC's assumption that traditional media exercises "independent editorial responsibility" in writing reviews and that many bloggers and social media users may not, and that freebies for traditional news reporters are "reasonably expected by the audience," whereas freebies for bloggers and influential Twitterers are not.

It is unclear how many of the 5,000 journalists credentialed for the show are bloggers (although the article mentions one online journalist by name).

Anyone care to guess how many of these journalists -- online or off -- will disclose their swag?


Eric P. Robinson said...

Missed this earlier, but the American Journalism Review published an article in Oct./Nov. 2011 on the practice of giving free loaner cars to auto journalists:

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