Big Vegas Show Provides A Glimpse of the PR Future

Every year, the Consumer Electronics Association’s show in Las Vegas has been a media spectacle, with journalists from far and wide cramming Las Vegas to bring us stories of the newest high-tech gadgets that will soon be making their way into our lives.  But not this year.

The Consumer Electronics Show still happened.  It still made news.  But, one veteran journalist tells me, for the first time ever, there were plenty of hotel rooms available in Vegas.  Why? Media budget cuts meant significantly fewer outlets wanted to spend money on airfare, hotel room costs and expenses to have their reporters cover the event in person.

To make sure their event wasn’t left out of the news entirely, organizers did a smart thing.  They streamed the sessions with tech newsmakers live on the Web – shifting a policy of making them available on a delay – so journalists could cover the news in real-time, from their desktops.  

This is a good lesson for communicators who, at one time, expected media to “come out” and cover their news.  Fewer resources means more reporters “chained to their desks” – whether the story is one mile or 1,000 miles away.   Anyone who expects to “call a press conference” and have notepads, recorders and cameras heading their way is living in the past. Now, it’s about getting reporters information and access to them when they need it and how they want it.

Really – if they aren’t going to cover a sure thing in Vegas in-person, what makes you think they will come to watch your spokesman behind a podium in front of a banner?  

Just another change to keep in mind as you adapt to the new realities.