This morning, I received a press release from Aol Communications declaring that its insanely popular
blog will be the "
" of the Consumer Electronics Assocation's
from Jan. 7-10. From the press release:
Good for Engadget, I thought. But what did this mean for its journalistic independence? (What if, for example, the White House declared The Washington Post the official news source for the Inauguration? Would people be skeptical of the Post's relationship with the White House? Probably.)
So, in the interest of transparency, I sent the following three questions to Kurt Patat, director of Aol corporate communications, who originally sent me the press release:
* What does "official blog" status really mean for Engadget at CES? Will Engadget be able to cover news from the event from a journalistically independent perspective? What if, for example, the event is a relative dud compared to previous events – would Engadget report that?
* Will Engadget editorial staff get exclusive (earliest) access to products and interview subjects that wouldn't be afforded to other bloggers/journalists who are covering the event?
* What is the financial (or quid pro quo) relationship between Engadget and CES/CEA for this event? Did Engadget pay CEA for the right to be marketed as the "official blog"? Should any financial or transactional relationship be made as transparent as possible for readers of the Engadget blog?
To see Kurt's answers (which he sent me promptly by email this morning), hit the jump.
From Kurt Patat:
* We're still absolutely 100 percent independent. The title -- to us -- is more of a recognition of the hard work and detailed coverage we do more than anything. I think the CEA is interested in the partnership because they feel that what we do truly reflects the spirit and buzz of CES.
* No. We're still slugging it out to get the scoops and coverage as we do every year.
* There was absolutely NO exchange of money. Two years ago, the CEA simply decided that they wanted to highlight some of the stronger media outlets that attend and cover CES, and we were happy to work with them. Previously, they had worked with broadcast and print partners (and continue to do so), and we were honored to be their first and only blog partner.
Okay, tech geeks, does this relationship and the transparency between CES and Engadget satisfy you? It's good to know that money didn't change hands and access for other bloggers won't be curtailed.
What do you think?