Hundreds of reporters, including myself, had queued up outside the main hall at the keynote for more than two and a half hours, many of them hoping to get video clips of the Steve Ballmer keynote.
Shortly after the lights went out and the speech began, however, we were approached by a Microsoft suit who said that no filming was allowed other than the company's own camera crews, who had a feed we could plug into if we wanted to get video of the speech.
Needless to say, I was more than a bit peeved. Two and a half hours in line, and not one person from Microsoft or the CES crew bothered to look at the hundreds of press wielding cameras and inform them that no filming would be allowed. Of the dozens of emails Microsoft and the CEA flooded my inbox with, not one noted the policy.
In all fairness, Microsoft isn't the only company that does this. Apple also often forbids hacks from filming or taking shots outside of the camera pen at its own events (the popular claim is that this is done to prevent reporters from blocking others' view.)
However, it's a terrible policy, and one that shows a fundamental lack of understanding as to how many news sites operate these days. Most of us don't have a huge camera crew to send to the event, and often the person writing the story is also charged with getting photos and video.
One would think that a company such as Microsoft, which has pushed so hard in recent years to build a repertoire with bloggers and online news organisations, would have a bit more respect for how they cover events.
The experience also got me thinking about the bigger picture. In this era of widespread blogging, networking and news feeds, are companies really any more open? If anything, it seems that this new environment of "transparency" is making many companies even more paranoid, and has led some to put an even tighter lid on what they expose to the public.
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