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A Field Guide to the CES Tech Journalist


Lindsey Turrentine, CNET.com


If you've never attended CES before and you're headed to Las Vegas in January to pitch a product, you should get to know the local wildlife. To break through the jungle of other companies launching new products, you're going to need to interact with that special species of human – the one you fear, loathe, and love – the tech journalist.
 
Tech journalists are a special breed. I know, because I am one, and I help run the largest, most-read team of consumer tech journalists in the world. So keep these tips in mind when you approach a CNET journalist or one from any other publication. We're hungry by nature but we don't bite. At least not very hard.
 
We truly want to know about your product...

Without inventive new products from companies small and large, we would have very little to write or film. We love writing and shooting video and discovering. That's why we're journalists (goodness knows it's not for the expense accounts). So, please, don't be afraid to contact us to tell us about your product, especially if it's new, inventive, or has a back story that you think the world needs to know about.
 
... but quickly

The problem is, any tech journalist receives a truly mind-blowing amount of email, Twitter direct messages, plain-old-normal tweets, and actual phone calls on any given day. During CES, we receive 13 times that number. It's hard to focus on so many messages after a while, especially if those communications don't cut right to the chase. So, please! Let us know what your product is in the subject line or as soon as you contact us. That way, we can make sure the right reporter or reviewer knows about what you're pitching. If you can prebrief us before the show, even better.
 
We really, really (really) love pictures

Yes, we are writers. We're very good with words. But when we tell a story with an accompanying video or photo of a product or a service that will spark the imaginations of our readers, our stories do even better, which means that more people see them. So if you're making a decision between bringing a prototype to CES or not, please bring it. Be clear about whether it really works or not, but show it off -- as long as it's really what your product will look and behave like.
 
Tell us a story. A true story.

Our job is to tell the world the story of technology, and we know that our audience loves a plot. Does your company have unique roots? Was it founded by an interesting entrepreneur? Did you struggle, then succeed, in finding the “aha” feature to focus on? Tell us. Be aggressively human and aggressively truthful. We care about products even if they won't launch until later, but we also really need to know timelines so that we can let our readers know what to expect.

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If you're new to CES or working for a startup, come introduce yourself. CNET will have a giant stage in the South Hall at the LVCC, and for the first time this year, we'll also build a stage at Tech West in the Sands. We've specially designed the Tech West stage to capture the best emerging products at CES, giving innovators the opportunity to pitch their products to a CNET editor and possibly earn a First Look filming session.
 
In truth, tech journalists adore CES. We make a sport out of complaining about it (The blisters! The food! The cab lines! The nosebleed-dry air!) but that's just how we bond with others of our kind. Plus, we don't sleep very much.


 

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