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Regarding the article about FurFright 2007... [Nov. 3rd, 2007|01:09 pm]
Open Paws - Proud to be Furry!

openpaws

[ionotter]
[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]

It seems that a reporter "sneaked in" at Fur Fright 2007 this year and wrote an article (link) about the furries.

It's a pretty good article, overall, and it paints us in a very accurate, very good light. To paraphrase it up into a single sentence of my own summation?

We're mostly cotton candy, while the rest of our existence is the paper cone; just like the rest of humanity.

Now, I'll admit I'm not to keen on the fact that she had to "sneak in" while wearing a disguise and take notes while hiding in a bathroom stall. But you know, it says a lot more about US, than it does about the reporter. It says we've got something to hide.

Mrs. Abel did what any good reporter is supposed to do when they smell a story. She did her research, examined us from afar, and then tried to see us up close. She followed the proper procedure for approaching us and asked the convention chair if she could do interviews. Her request was politely declined.

So, like any good reporter, she went and got the story anyway. And it's a very good story! It doesn't paint us as monsters or freaks. The whole "sex" thing takes up less than a paragraph and chocks us up as pretty BORING, actually? But what it DOES make clear is that we're good people overall, and that despite having adult content and adult issues, this is a place that's actually safe for you to bring your children.

I'm sure there's adults here that may disagree, and I certainly don't think a furry con is a place to let your kids go unsupervised. But overall, we're a good bunch of people. And that's just what Mrs. Abel reported about us.

So when I see people saying that we-or the convention organizers-should take some kind of legal action against the reporter, I have to say I'm more than a little disgusted.

That's right. Disgusted. As in I want to step away from something that carries a foul stench.

Look, people. Let's get a few things straight here, okay?


  1. We are INTERESTING. People who don't share our world are going to be curious. Get used to it.

  2. We are DIFFERENT. People who don't understand us are going to have their own reactions to us. Adapt to it.

  3. We're human. Get over it.



Yes, we have been burned by the "media". Third-degree burns, right down to the bone, that left us scarred and bitter. Sure, some of it was sensationalist? But that's what magazines like "Vanity Fair" are supposed to do, present sensational things for their readers. It's the price we're going to have to pay for being different and interesting.

So I'm going to give you all a very careful warning: get used to reporters and handle them with care. We're all going to be seeing more and more of them, so let's keep our heads on straight.

Threats-of ANY kind, legal or otherwise-towards the reporter or reporters are absolutely unacceptable in every way. If the reporter engages in illegal activity, such as slander via radio or video, or libel via the printed word (link), then yes, we should take legal action.

But threatening a lawsuit because they paid their fees, attended the convention, and then wrote what is essentially a "convention report" not much different from the ones you write in YOUR OWN JOURNALS is both odious and detrimental to the community as a whole.

Let's not lose perspective, here folks.

Media and other reporters should be encouraged to follow convention policy and rules, and I will continue to advise them of this whenever I'm asked. But if someone comes in and says nice things about us, we shouldn't be calling for their heads on a pike.
LinkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: starcharmer
2007-11-03 05:24 pm (UTC)
*applauds*
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From: simbab
2007-11-03 05:47 pm (UTC)
I don't know...I think that people feel violated, and I don't blame them. We may be interesting and different but we also have a right to privacy. And frankly, given the treatment we've gotten from the media in the past I think people are correct to exercise that right when it comes to the media and the fandom.
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[User Picture]From: toranin
2007-11-03 05:57 pm (UTC)
Rights to privacy have limits. A hotel is a public place, and within public spaces, any rights to privacy -- whether ours or anyone else's -- are limited. Similarly, the convention is open to anyone who wants to register, and as such, anything that such registration grants access to is (de facto unless there are rules to the contrary) also public to a degree.

I'm with ionotter here. I look at the author of the article simply as a first-time con-goer writing a report of her experiences in a medium that simply has a bit more exposure than a LiveJournal post. And don't forget that people have used whistle-blower laws and other such journalistic niceties to protect their blogs. We can't have it both ways: if blogs are potentially journalistic, then what she's done here isn't so different from what any of the attendees making a public post about the convention is doing.
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[User Picture]From: wulfsige
2007-11-03 05:51 pm (UTC)
Very good article and very good reporter.
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[User Picture]From: shabm
2007-11-03 05:59 pm (UTC)
... if the article was so good and honest, then why would people be threatening a lawsuit over it?

That's all I have to ask.
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[User Picture]From: boomeroo
2007-11-03 06:20 pm (UTC)
I have read said article. I is a very good, objective, and clean piece. The only thing that everyone is having an issue with is that 'OMG SHE'S TEH SATAN BECAUSE SHE'S A JOURNALIST! SHE SNUCK INTO THE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC CONVENTION!'

This seems like an awfully kneejerk reaction over something very minor, and something that says something GOOD about us. It's not like NBC snuck in and did a 9pm special on us. A small, local paper wrote a nice article that likely won't get seen by a whole lot of people besides those in the fandom.

Personally, I think the article is great, despite the fact she came anyway being denied the press pass. I still fail to see why it's so horrible she paid to get in, went to the panels, and enjoyed the experience that she had.
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[User Picture]From: atomicat
2007-11-03 06:00 pm (UTC)
Very well writ! If we act like we've something to hide they'll just dig and dig anyways. We just had a reporter here in my home town post to our mailing list asking for info and interviews, the reaction was to run and hide. Now this local group is TAME (too tame for me! :D), so why not have a chat?
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[User Picture]From: atara
2007-11-03 07:28 pm (UTC)
I think we took the right tact on that one, though. If people want to contact her now, they're more than welcome to. I would have preferred that she hadn't joined the list, though. It is a private list specifically for the local group, which is stated when you sign up. The preferred proceedure would have been to email the admin (me) for information. That's happened in the past (I believe it was the same lady, actually) and I forwarded her message to the list, copying her in. If no one want to talk to the reporter, there's not much I can do about it, but having the media trolling the mailing list for info is NOT cool either.

Ah well. The article in question here was awesome, though. It would have been nice if the con had had a media liason rather than just denying her entry, though. But if you read the article, it's telling... She was DISAPPOINTED that she didn't find any sex orgies. That tells you exactly what they're looking for when they decide to write these articles. And I wouldn't put it above a journalist to go looking for the sex if they want to find it. :P

Threatening to sue, though... that's just stupid and childish.
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[User Picture]From: xantheequine
2007-11-03 06:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, I read the article and found it t my liking. Reading this is also to my liking. I mean come on. Furries are going to have to deal with more reporters, so give them GOOD things to say about the fandom. Heck the fandom raised over $50,000 dollars for charity last year, point that out to them. I mean come on. There is nothing wrong with what she did. I admire her for having the guts to go through with it... You never know, she might end up being the next undercover reporter for a big paper or news station.

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[User Picture]From: schnee
2007-11-03 06:26 pm (UTC)
Eh, I don't know. A good article's a good article, but a good reporter should also be respectful and not write one about a private event when asked not to. (Discussing why with the organisers and trying to work out a deal is perfectly fine, of course, but ultimately, if they say no, that should be respected.)

Asking for threats of a lawsuit is over the top, too, of course.

But I'm can't support journalists who write about a private event while being aware that they're not supposed to, either, even if the articles are glowing. The reason for that is simply that I go to cons, and I value my privacy; I won't do anything in public that would be inappropriate in public, but I want to be able to enjoy the con without having to worry about undercover reporters. Con reports that get red by dozens at most are one thing; newspaper articles that might get red by tens or even hundreds of thousands (or even more) are another. It's all about trust.
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[User Picture]From: her_own_monster
2007-11-03 06:32 pm (UTC)
*shrug* I do find her tactics disturbing. Enough to warrant a lawsuit? No, but she was expressly told she couldn't come in as a reporter and then she wrote a piece for a newspaper. She broke rules. End of story.

That said, look at the comments to the story. The ones from furries- even the comments that are irate- express gratitude at having been portrayed in an accurate light for once. However, the comments from non furries are the most interesting: there are many that say something to the effect of, "Man, I used to think furries were fucked up. Guess I was wrong." I can't argue too much with those sorts of results.
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[User Picture]From: squnq
2007-11-03 07:17 pm (UTC)
every single article and depiction of the furry fandom created in the last decade has been entirely correct in what it reported.

the fact that this article happened to be balanced continues this trend, because when observing the furry fandom you may see a freakshow or may see nothing, depending on what time of day or where you turn the camera on, or who you turn the camera towards.

only a goddamn moron would even consider litigation against media for its depictions of furry fandom, because all of them have been completely accurate and the only people who bitch about them are people who are butthurt that their oh-so-special desire to hump stuffed animals is showing up on TV.
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[User Picture]From: ionotter
2007-11-03 10:27 pm (UTC)
...has been entirely correct in what it reported.

True. Painfully, agonizingly true.

However, I would counter that Foxwolfie Galen is not representative of the entire-or even a portion-of the furry community? The Vanity Fair article made it look like we were all his disciples or something.

So while it may have been true, its "balance", to use your words, was skewed so far as to send the scale crashing through a hole in the floor.

This article was quite balanced, and hence a wonderful breath of fresh air.

And furries can always use plenty of fresh air.
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[User Picture]From: wildbilltx
2007-11-03 10:05 pm (UTC)
I think some reporters should be allowed to attend and do reports on cons. But they'll to send the convention articles they have previously done and copies of their newspaper, magazine, website or TV show for the staff to review and approve.

And the reporter should always be with a representative of the convention. But this takes extra personal, time and can create more problems/drama. Thats why most cons just feel its better to keep them out.

Even if Furfright was to sue the reporter-paper and won a substantial reward in court, it's not going to keep the press away. It will probably give them more reason to go undercover.

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[User Picture]From: wildbilltx
2007-11-04 12:44 am (UTC)
just need to fix one sentence..
But they'll have to send the convention articles they have previously done and copies of their newspaper, magazine, website or TV show for the staff to review and approve.

And I also thought it was a good article. I discovered the same things the reporter did when I went to my first furry con last year (Megaplex 5 in Orlando).
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[User Picture]From: jilduck
2007-11-03 10:58 pm (UTC)
I can't agree more. This is only GOOD press for us, and furries are whining?

Some people in this fandom need to grow a pair, really. Does the media really matter? If it's affecting your personal enjoyment, you need to reevaluate your involvement in the fandom.

(Personally, I don't mind the bad press. Because I know it's TRUE. Doesn't mean I have to associate with or even be nice to those parts of the fandom though ;) )
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[User Picture]From: lastres0rt
2007-11-10 01:17 am (UTC)
Agreed 100%.

I find worse stuff on WikiFur,and people usually put that shit up about THEMSELVES! Who needs bad press when we're willing to do it for 'em?
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[User Picture]From: winged_panda
2007-11-03 11:25 pm (UTC)
I actually caught her in the bathroom writing notes, and when I asked her about it, somehow I just figured she couldn't be a reporter. She was GOOD. >.>
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[User Picture]From: phyrbyrd
2007-11-03 11:48 pm (UTC)
Looked like a pretty honest report to me, very balanced and unbiased. About time this fandom had some decent press.
And woah, that's a really cool fursuit in the picture. *Really* cool.
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[User Picture]From: ionotter
2007-11-04 12:45 am (UTC)
And woah, that's a really cool fursuit in the picture. *Really* cool.

Indeed! Yo! Anyone know who that is? Sound off!
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[User Picture]From: loganberrybunny
2007-11-04 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm not a con-goer (and that doesn't just apply to furry) and am not American either, so this is a bit of an outside perspective. But one thing that surprised me a bit was this:

FurFright was harder to get into than any sci-fi or comic con I've seen. Con admission's usually easy: fork over your entrance fee and get a badge. The Furries demanded photo ID.

Why is this? If it's because furry cons are more concerned about the "wrong" people getting in, then does that imply that the fandom does have a problem? And if it's because there's more adults-only stuff, then does that imply that the sexual bias really is stronger in furry?

Actually I was surprised in the other direction from what you might think. Since furry cons are the only ones I've read detailed stuff about, I was under the impression that all organised cons asked for photo ID. It seems not. Again, why the difference?
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[User Picture]From: ferdiaferlin
2007-11-04 01:09 am (UTC)
I think it is too ensure that underaged people do not get in without parental approval.
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From: cyberwolf80
2007-11-04 01:07 am (UTC)
I'd have to say it's a knee jerk reaction. People feel violated right now, because of the subversive tactics she used. The whole talk about lawsuits is likely the slim hope that maybe, just maybe, other media sources will take note and not use such tactics in the future. That they will understand that no means no.
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