I’m sure you wonder, as a reporter, do you get wined and dined and pampered like royalty?
Some do, sometimes. It’s normal for businesses to try to treat reporters well while hoping for more exposure or positive news coverage. Some people will give away product samples or goody bags, and hotels may give a big discount or even a free stay. Most people in most cases first refuse politely and then accept graciously, given that it doesn’t involve any cash or whose value adds up to a scandalous amount. What each reporter does with the “mini bribes” is up to them. Most of us aren’t bribable. We write what we think is right, unless our boss tells us otherwise, or if it involves a product placement. In which case, we write the story and leave our names out of it.
Sometimes the perks make it nice to be a reporter.
Sometimes the perks make some ungrateful reporters.
Recently as I’ve been going on business trips more for travel stories, I’ve been hearing some colleagues say, “I can’t believe they’re making us share two rooms when there are three of us.” Or, “They should be buying us a really nice dinner.” But even in Taipei, I hear people say, “I can’t believe there wasn’t a goodie bag.” Or, “That’s it? That’s all we get?” Sometimes I wonder if they’ve forgotten what their job is and if they’ve lost all sense of what’s proper and what’s not. No one owes reporters anything. Reporters don’t owe anyone anything. We get a story when they provide us with things to shoot, and they get exposure. When it comes to consumer or lifestyle news, it’s usually a mutually beneficial relationship. No one owes anyone anything.
It sucks to go on a TWD1200/person/night budget for hotel, but sometimes I think I’d rather stay at a roach motel than be complained to about how the people who are already giving us a big discount at a more than decent motel/B&B isn’t giving us everything we can only be wishing for with the amount of money the company gives us to spend.
Or maybe this is once again culture shock. There are gift and money giving traditions in this part of the world that I don’t understand. Frustrating.