Behind the scenes in the Press Room

Readers benefit from journalists, and bloggers, being exposed to the wondrous happenings at CES, but what goes on behind the scenes? Competitors, both in the consumer electronics industry and in the media, are tossed into a caldron of technology, from which they must distill a product, be it a new chip or a reasonably informative article. Most fulfill their assignment with integrity and respect for others. Some do not.

Respect, I have found, is lacking in many segments of society worldwide. It stems from cultural habits, prejudice, sexual bias, ignorance, jealousy, and just plain stupidity.

Although CES draws attendees from all corners of the world, my experience at CES was fantastic, without notable conflict. Everyone, visitors, vendors, and press alike were rushing between venues in three hotels and the Las Vegas Convention Center, loving referred to as LVCC. The Venetian, the North, South and Centrals Halls, upper and lower, and Grand Lobby of the LVCC were the busiest. The Hilton and Renaissance Las Vegas rounded out the locations where 2,700 exhibitors, approximately 500 sessions, and 112,515 attendees on the first two days of a four day run found themselves. I managed to run into ? literally ? many nice, polite, and interesting people. Unfortunately, that did not hold true when I started to report on what I had seen.

Being a journalist, at CES especially, is a demanding, exhausting, and often unforgiving task. We try to assimilate, digest, and regurgitate accurately what we encounter, be it speakers, product demos, or panel discussions.  Up at 6AM you are up to dash to various venues across the sprawling Las Vegas landscape trying to reach appointments in diverse locations.

Stairs, escalators, shuttle busses, monorails, and taxis aren?t always your friend.  The monorail, for example has a nice route map with southbound and northbound platforms ? but no compass indicator on the map. To add insult to injury, once the maddening crowd figured out the convention center was North, the trolley decided to malfunction and the southbound was taking visitors North.

With hundreds of possible topics and vendors to cover, in only six days ? yes, Press starts two days before the public opening of CES ? time is precious. Hoofing it through the convention hall or around hotels as big as a three story, three football field length building is not a time-effective activity. Somehow, "pack mule" comes to mind.

Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas Convention Center – official show floor

Evening brings "invitation only" ? attendance somewhat obligatory ? receptions where the vendors ply your loyalty with food and drink. This is where you get an opportunity to get to know your subjects on a social level. Yes, the Press gets perks. How else do you think the insider information you come to us for is obtained? By developing mutually respectful relationships.

Our day ends back at the hotel cranking out an article or two before falling into bed at 3AM, only to begin again at 6AM. Along the way, journalists from other venues, pass by, sharing tips, even materials and photos from a session they attended, but won?t be covering.  I handed off a carton of Epsom salts to a fellow journalist for a recuperating foot soak.  Am I the only one who didn?t know Epsom salts comes with lavender aromatherapy? All in all, it is a cooperative, fun community to belong to.

The best part of reporting is that most journalists try to present what they learn in a level-handed, critical, yet respectful, honest way. Others go at it with a no-holds-barred attitude. Each web site has its own personality, and some, an obvious leaning. Broadcast media recognizes this fact when trying to draw an audience. Fox News has a motto reflecting this: "Fair and Balanced ? We Report, You Decide."  However, that claim is a different discussion that I won?t explore here.

My disappointment comes from the lack of respect one of the readers of BSN* showed in a comment on the article I wrote about the Nvidia press conference. I write what I see and hear, good or bad. I do not receive direction, nor censoring, from my publisher, Theo Valich.

One of our readers, apparently however, has an axe to grind, and voiced his opinion in a most unprofessional manner. His statement that the CEO of Nvidia has a private part of his body in an orifice of mine that does not normally accommodate such an object, was inappropriate and insulting not only to me, but to the well-respected head of a well-known company.

Anonymous comments such as these, either on BSN* or any other site, derive from a grammar school mentality. They come from the pen of an individual without enough guts to identify themselves, nor one who has the ability to glean attention by speaking their mind in an intelligent, analytical, and respectful manner.

Granted, my publisher was overly aggressive in attempting to protect his flock, but the point is well taken. As my mother taught me, "If you can?t say something nice, don?t say anything at all.?  Sexually explicit, hateful, or blasphemous comments, either inside an article, or as commentary, will not be allowed at *BSN.

Why can?t everyone just play nice? We all love technology and want to learn about, and use the latest and greatest (well, may not Vista). But we?re all on the same team. SuperBowl players,  NASCAR champions, World Cup, and British Open players give their all, but shake hands at the end of the competition. We can too.