After having spent this morning blogging a Wall Street Journal article that was a critical piece disguised as a rave, this afternoon I find that Ben Kuchera of Wired has called out a video game PR firm for threatening to withhold review copies from journalists who slam the recently introduced Duke Nukem update.
The press and PR relationship may sometimes be strained, but it’s rarely adversarial.
That is, until the Redner Group’s official Twitter account posted something you almost never see: an open threat stating that outlets who reviewed Duke Nukem Forever poorly may not receive review copies of games in the future. Anyone who has done this job for any amount of time has suffered through a dry spell after giving a publisher a bad review, but this is the first time the threat of a blacklist has been made public.
I've blogged often about how the new age of transparency extends to PR pitches and practices. Activity that used to take place behind the scenes and wasn't considered news, now it is. It wouldn't be uncommon for a journalist to publicly display a blacklist notice received privately.
But for Redner Group to put out a tweet threatening reviewers? What will that do their credibility as news sources? That's suicidal, and it seems like the owner is already walking back from it.
It's bad enough to be wrong - but journalists are now willing to make you famous for being so. In the industry, we have to be careful because mistakes we made 5-10 years ago that would go unmentioned are food for the media beast in 2011.