Journalistic Integrity & Samsung Mobilers

We saw a controversy around CJ’s Berlin visit with Samsung today. The story is evolving and a lot of too and fro would happen. I don’t want to get into that here. I tweeted about an incident where we were offered Nokia T-shirts to wear on a trip to Goa where the Belle series were introduced. I along with a couple of others didn’t wear it. Some bloggers who are taking great offense to Samsung’s treatment to CJ agreed to wear a Nokia t-shirt and being filmed / photographed during the trip.

Now before I make my point, here I am not pointing out malpractices by any company or something that I have an objection too. My point is about my conduct as a journalist / blogger. 

Samsung Mobilers?

My friend Raju suggested that the bloggers (or some bloggers) visiting Berlin with Samsung aren’t reporters on a media Junket. They are part of a marketing program called ‘Samsung Mobiles’. That is debatable, but let’s consider it too.

If I were to be a Samsung Mobiler (under a marketing program and not a reporter) and I also run a technology blog . I might even give a quote or two for a local newspaper about technology and tweet my opinions on the tech industry. The question is, shouldn’t my audience, the reader know about my affiliation with Samsung under a marketing program if I am writing about Nokia or HTC or any other mobile company for that matter?

Consider the flip side, if I am visiting Berlin under the Mobilers program believing myself to be a journalist / reporter, how would my readers trust me if I am wearing a ‘Samsung T-shirt’ and covering their products? Doesn’t that reflect bias?

During my time at OnlyGizmos, this was a tussle I had with the environment at times.

I may not know what Mobilers is, but no matter how we brand it, a marketing program or a modified media junket, it raises doubts on how the journalistic integrity is maintained.

6 thoughts on “Journalistic Integrity & Samsung Mobilers

  1. says

    “My friend Raju suggested that the bloggers (or some bloggers) visiting Berlin with Samsung are reporters on a media Junket.”

    I said they were NOT reporters in true sense, as they were part of an out-n-out marketing campaign. FWIK, they were not meant to ‘cover’ IFA, but were ‘expected’ to cover Samsung’s announcements at IFA. Clearly, the expectations were not set right at some level, which resulted in this sham.

  2. Annkur says

    Thanks for clarifying that Raju.

    My point is – aren’t there people in the program who write about other brands? run publications? Aren’t they liable as journalists to declare their relationship with another company?

  3. Annkur says

    Raju, there was a typo, I was meaning to write “aren’t reporters on a media Junket.” Fixed now.

  4. Annkur says

    Also declare when they talk about Nokia or HTC or any other brand. They have an ongoing affiliation with Samsung, that merits a declaration in any coverage they do.

  5. Samsung has a valid point that these Bloggers were part of Samsung mobiler program but what went wrong was, when CJ already made it clear he was going as a Reporter and not as a promoter and blackmailing and threatening them was so unethical…