INTEGRITY, JOURNALISM, AND FREE PS4s (Jimquisition)
An interesting and insightful take on "freebies" given to media and reviewers. While Jim is only addressing the issue in regard to gaming, I was struck by the similarities to the book reviewing community. Especially, in regard to the perceived, and to be honest actual behavior, of some reviewers/bloggers.
“We’re games reviewers. We exist to serve our readers. Not show off to them. Not to lord it over them. But that was exactly what the photos coming out of New York looked like. Boasting. Making people jealous. Making PS4s look exactly as they shouldn’t have looked, as presents. As toys you got before everyone else.”
I’m not saying that reviewers shouldn’t get ARCs, I get them myself. But there is a difference between posting updates on an ARC you’re actively reading (with the intention of posting a review for it) and posting pictures popular ARCs you’ve received all over social media with no intention of reviewing them any time soon. We all get excited about getting ARCs we want to read, but what does it accomplish to wave your ARC in the face of your readers/followers without following it up with a review or any relevant, to them, information connected it? It doesn’t.
However, it does service the author, book and publisher with free advertisement. It also raises the perceived desirability of a book without providing any solid facts about its quality or even details of what its about. Worse yet, it’s often followed up with more name dropping in the form of interviews, cover art commentary, etc, again with no tangible information about the BOOK ITSELF.
So it’s no wonder some reviewers come under fire for being “paid with ARCs.” This criticism hasn't just suddenly been sparked by the long-standing practice of giving free copies to reviewers, but rather the unprofessional behavior of a few reviewers/bloggers. Some of whom treat reviewing like a free pass to an exclusive party, and/or its their job to personal champion popular titles/authors by spamming their followers with what amounts to free ads.
I'm a hobby blogger. I do media reviews for fun, and for free. While, I feel really fortunate when I'm able to review a book before it's released without having to pay for it, but I don't feel I owe the people giving me that book anything except an honest review.
Maybe I would feel differently if my blog was my business. If the number of hit counts and followers I had provided me with a paycheck. Then again, if they did, I would feel that much more motivated to conduct myself in a professional manner and to provide useful content to my readers, instead of commercials and pointless pictures of stuff they can't have.
Some food for thought.