Editorial: Anime Boston, Unfair to Independent Bloggers?

I have been running Anime Jam Session since 2007.  A year after that, I brought in some friends and even after I told them that this project would be hard work and we’d have to win over a lot of people and earn a lot of respect in the process, they still wanted in.  For five long years, we have brought to the anime community our podcasts, convention reports, photos, and videos, expanding our reach to cover more than just one facet of geek culture.  Going to cons and other events to do these things, and hearing feedback from the fans always puts a smile on my face.

But as I said, it’s not easy.  One of the hardest obstacles we deal with on a regular basis is approval from conventions.  I understand that we are not the only bloggers out there vying for press credentials to conventions, but when I apply, I have on the ready, links to prior convention coverage and while isn’t needed as much anymore, I do understand why we have to run through hoops for press; some people just want a free pass to the con and not give back.  That’s not us, nor will it ever be how we represent ourselves.

This is why I’m surprised by the attitude of Anime Boston.

Anime Boston, New England’s biggest anime convention.  I have been going to this show since 2002.  I originally went because at the time I was / am very good friends with the couple (well the female now) that was their official mascots.  As much fun as I had with AB, I decided that it was time I should apply for press and cover this convention.  Boy was I in for a long and complicated road.

First year, no response.  Second year, no response.  Third year, a reply – “Thanks for your submission, but your site does not meet our criteria.”  Now mind you, I sent them an e-mail asking why we were not considered for press and/or the reason why we did not meet their criteria.  I never got a response back from them.

I wasn’t surprised about the first year.  So when I went the following year, I spoke to their press liaison.  I was told that because of the influx of requests due to Nobuo Uematsu’sappearance, they had to be extra scrutinizing with the application process.  Okay, that’s very believable and at least an explanation that made sense.  The following year I had applied again, but this time, I had already spoken to a few other bloggers who told me that they had also requested press and got rejected.  I had started to think that Anime Boston started turning their backs on the small, indie bloggers that helped to reach the con going community.  Their press liaison however stated that they do give indie bloggers press and I did see that my friend, who runs Ani-Gamers, got his.

For what it’s worth, an acquaintance of mine was approved for press through his college’s newspaper.  He laid out his plans for interviews, questions, everything he intended to cover.  Yet even after he was approved, Anime Boston was was giving him a hard time about the requirements for press status.

But now with PAX East and AB on the same weekend, and having that sour taste in my mouth for their press requirements, I decided it was against my better judgment to attend AB and focus on PAX instead.

This is where things got interesting.

After a phone call with Kuro, I discovered that Cosplay NYC got press.  Now isn’t that something.  I’ve tried for three years to get press for this convention, and this new blog site that’s been around for only a year gets in?  Okay, now I know that someone has an ax to grind against me…or so I thought.  I proceeded to blast AB on my personal Facebook page, along with a bunch of others who agreed with me.  I also discovered that I wasn’t the only one getting the raw deal by them.  Other press outlets I am associated with also griped about the unfairness that AB has pulled with press.

On said rant, a couple of people said that they would find out and see if there’s any particular reason as to why my website was denied press credentials.  I truly appreciate the help on that, but I replied that it isn’t needed.

Now between the second and third years, I’ve spoken with a few people who are on press staff.  They tell me that the rules are the same for other conventions, and that there shouldn’t be any problems whatsoever.  Well then, if that’s the case, how come we (as in Anime Jam Session), get press credentials to other conventions bigger and smaller than AB without any problems at all?

I’ve come to the gracious conclusion that Anime Boston is too good for themselves.  They feel that since they are the largest anime convention in New England that they can cherry pick press people, instead of everyone getting a fair shot.

So Anime Boston.  I am done with you.  I will not stop my staff from going, but they will not represent this website.  I have no reason to return to your convention unless you show respect for my site and other indie bloggers who promoted your convention over the years.  Personally, the only way I’ll ever step foot in your convention again is if you announce Kappei Yamaguchi, Noriko Hidaka, and/or Yaida Hitomi as guests.

For what it’s worth, I’m not jealous of Cosplay NYC nor Ani-Gamers.  They are comrades in the world of independent bloggers.  I commend them and am happy that they’re able to cover this con.

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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