We’ll be getting into this more when we write our big wrap-up, but the ironic lack of media access to panels at San Diego has gotten in just about everyone’s craw:
Blog@Newsarama’s JK Parkin:
1) There should be a designated number of seats for media who are there to cover the con, so that they can do their job and cover panels. Because if you’re covering multiple movie panels on Saturday that are in different rooms, chances are you’re gonna be screwed. When I was at the Neil Gaiman panel, there were three rows of seats marked “studio executive only” behind me … and hardly any of those seats were taken. Now, if you’re a studio, who do you want at your panel … your studio executives who probably already know what’s going to be presented because they approved it, or the media, who can take your message and spread it to the masses who couldn’t come to the con (or who couldn’t get to through the doors), which is why you’re at the con in the first place?
But it wasn’t just comics bloggers who felt left out!
The other issue is one that specifically affects the large media contingent that attends the show. Namely, that for panel attendance, there is no way for media reporters to reliably gain access aside from standing in line like everyone else. Yes, there are press-only opportunities — lots of them — but there is a need to cover the actual event of the panel, to hear what is announced to fans and see what the fan reaction is. The con may need to consider setting aside a space in each panel room for the media. Make them first-come first-serve, and if by some reason all those slots aren’t taken – then give them to fans. But the job of covering the show this year became increasingly complicated by the need to plan and stand in line, often for long periods of time, in order to ensure access to these events.
These guys and gals (some of which don’t even get paid) work very hard so I just want to thank them for doing a great job controlling people I’m sure are very hard to control. Of course, if the Con had a designated area for the press to sit so we could cover the events that might make things easier. But that’s another story for another time.
The crowding would seem to have something to do with Comic-Con’s complete refusal to limit its scope or differentiate between the important, the worthwhile, and the abysmal. It certainly isn’t following its mission, which reads as follows:
Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.
I have nothing against Sarah Silverman, but I fail to see how her TV show is relevant to that mission. I don’t understand why there are booths hawking swords and hard drives, or why it makes sense for Playboy Playmates to be signing photos on the show floor. It rankles me that the con’s program book celebrates every comic, TV show, and movie it mentions as a hit, a masterwork, or both.