SHOT Show 2014: Good and Bad Observations of the Online Media

SHOT Show 2014

[Editor’s Note: Click here for the SHOT Show 2020 coverage.]

Another SHOT Show has come and gone.  Even though we still have articles, photos and information to post from the show, I thought it might be interesting to post some of my observations of the media and media-related activities from the show that don’t fit neatly into any of the existing or coming articles.  This observation article is about the online or internet media (sometimes still called new media.)

Some New/Online Media Personalities Are Classless

Let’s start by pointing the harsh lens of reality at my contemporaries who exhibit poor qualities.  Most folks in the outdoor & shooting media are easy to work with.  However, like any group of people, there are always a few who stand out due to their lack of professionalism, arrogance or whining.  Unfortunately, the online shooting media has a few of these.  I can probably lump most of them into the categories of ‘gear whores’ and ‘douchebags.’

Gear Whores

The gear whores are the folks who go from booth to booth looking for free stuff from companies.  I’ve talked to  number of manufacturers who have expressed frustration that some people bearing media credentials show up just looking for free gear:  flashlights, bags, ammo and anything else that isn’t bolted down.  Some of the gear whores are so bad as to be confrontational when their demands are rebuffed.

The perception seems to be that the gear whores are almost exclusively new/online media types.  This is causing some manufacturers to lobby the NSSF to restrict the ability of new/online media from obtaining media credentials.  The NSSF has taken a balanced approach to internet media, but the more pressure they get from industry members, the more restricted online media will be.

Along these lines, Kevin at Misfires and Light Strikes takes a humorous look at some of the gear whore behaviors.


Douchebags are generally easy to spot, simply because they can’t stop themselves from repeatedly earning the title every time they are in public.  Most of the new/online media people are polite, respectful and hard-working.  A few, unfortunately, act like prima donnas or classless thugs.

For example, one YouTube personality was loudly complaining that he was not invited to a particular reception.  Incensed at the perceived slight, this person was quite vocal in front of a number of NSSF and media members about how important he is, and on his thoughts on being overlooked.  What this person failed to observe in his temper tantrum was the NSSF member who took a great deal of interest in the outburst.  Not only was the outburst childish, but it also reflected poorly on other members of the internet media community in front of the show sponsors.  Good job, little dinosaur.

In another example, a somewhat popular blogger was observed talking rather crassly about women and his thoughts on the industry blight called “booth babes.”  He thought more T&A was a good thing.  While his loud observations match what sometimes shows up on his website, it was nevertheless disappointing to see him exporting his crass views to a business event.  The SHOT Show isn’t the high school locker room; it is a trade show where people come to do business.

The Majority of Internet Media Are Good Great People

While the low-class people tend to stand out in any crowd, they are rarely the majority of any group.  This has never been more obvious than with online media.

The vast majority of the internet media I have met and observed at the SHOT Show have been professionals.  Some have been institutionally trained at good journalism schools, but many have not.  Most have just been raised to be respectful of others and to value hard work.  Truly, the internet media at the SHOT Show is one of the hardest working groups of people I have ever met.

I quickly run out of fingers and toes when counting all of the pros in the online media I have met over the years at the show.  The idiots are clearly a tiny portion of the group, and I hope that at future SHOT Shows manufacturers and the NSSF are able to see that.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

14 replies on “SHOT Show 2014: Good and Bad Observations of the Online Media”

I saw a lot of this stuff while I was there. I can think of 3 separate occasions where I was literally embarassed by the behavior of some new media folks and I will be placing some codes of conduct in place for our writers/staff before shot show next year. Great article!

As a very new guy on the scene (this was my first SHOT) and a very shot lived trip this year due to illness, I did not witness any of the behavior of which you speak, but I know several people who did.

Unfortunately, unlike the “old media”, many of us “new” folks operate with relative impunity, reporting to no one but our selves. With that being the case, some of us are free to act the ass with no real concern about repercussions, until it is too late. Thus I think since that is the case, it falls on all of our shoulders to take a proactive approach with this matter before the NSSF comes down on all of us for the actions of a vocal, obnoxious few.

I think this article is an excellent first step. Perhaps a group contact with NSSF management expressing these concerns, “signed” by those concerned about this issue, and maybe start a discussion with them about how to nip the problem in the bud before it grows to a large enough concern that they are forced to deal with it on their own.

Great points….all around. The other thing of note is the LACK of quality content from some of the bigger online media types….c’mon 4 days and you got 3 vids?!?! And the production value of some is embarrassing. I’m still pouring through footage and uploading vids, should keep me busy for at least another 2 weeks….check out my shot playlist on yt and tell me what I’m missing! Willing to listen to you guys! thanks.

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