I officially quit writing for the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog on Saturday morning during SDCC.
On Friday morning, blog staff became aware that an unofficial line for Hall H’s Saturday panels had formed behind the convention center. (Everyone is aware that the convention’s policy was that lines for the next day’s programming would not be permitted until after the current day’s programming had ended in the hall. By this logic, lines should not have been permitted for Saturday panels until late Friday.)
The blog chose not to share this information. They did tweet a teaser, saying they had visited people in a “super secret line” and gifted them t-shirts. As a writer for the blog, I was asked not to share this information – to “keep it on the DL” and not “ruin this for them.”
Unofficial Blog staff then joined the unsanctioned line. (Personally, I never had any intention to be in Hall H anytime this weekend, much less during the insanity that is Marvel Saturday. I was in the Indigo Ballroom all day on Friday.) When others brought up the unsanctioned line with security, it is my understanding that blog staff personally advocated for the lines to become sanctioned by security.
Wristbands ran out sometime around midnight. Unofficial Blog staff had been in line since 11am and had A group wristbands.
Although I am reluctant to share private conversations, I believe you should be provided proof, taken from the blog’s private chat room:
(Sunday 6:00pm: I have been asked by the Unofficial Blog to remove these screencaps. As a gesture of goodwill, I have, but if you have questions or concerns please comment or email sarah[at]conshark.com.)
In this photo, taken around noon on Friday, you can see Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Rutz in the “secret” line:
— Sarah Fagaly (@YasminRussell) July 25, 2014
We can argue until we’re blue in the face about whether lines should be allowed this early or whether camping for panels should be allowed. That’s not what I’m concerned with here. I wholeheartedly feel it was extremely unethical for the blog staff to be participating in something like this while intentionally deceiving their readers about the situation. The purpose of being a convention blog is to help attendees have the best con possible, and reporting on major issues at the show is huge part of that. The Unofficial Blog was intentionally silent on this issue simply because it benefited them personally.
I regret toeing the line and not sharing this information with our readers on Friday morning. I stopped writing for the blog (and posting to their Twitter) as soon as this happened on Friday. I officially quit Saturday morning.
Readers, I hope you as well as the blog staff will not misinterpret this as a personal attack but rather understand that I feel compelled to distance myself from activity that I firmly believe is unethical.
I am not advocating that you stop reading or following the Unofficial Blog, as I still believe they can do good work and do work very hard. But I also believe that bloggers with press passes have a responsibility to share all relevant news, not just the news that has no impact on said bloggers.
And so, I will sadly end my SDCC today the same way I ended it last year: on my own. Whether or not you agree with me, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and understand my position. And I hope you have an excellent end to your con!
If you feel strongly about the Hall H line issues at this year’s SDCC, I encourage you attend the Talk Back panel today, Sunday 7/26, at 3:30pm in Room 23ABC. Please make sure CCI hears your concerns.