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”

This was a very insightful article for a new YouTube channel host, such as myself. My channel and views have been growing exponentially and I have been considering going to SHOT next year. That said, I am quite honestly intimidated by the thought of such a large venue with so many people I love and respect in the gun-world being present. As a Christian man and honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran, my name and reputation mean more to me than most anything in this world aside from my family. I expect, if I decide to go to SHOT next year, I will be mostly mouth shut and ears open. I will certainly make respectful introductions and ask questions regarding new products, technologies, etc. but I am not there for free candy. In that, I will be completely mindful that they[manufacturers] are there to make sales and get the word out about their products. My presence there should aid them in accomplishing this and be a value add to them…not a value add for myself. I believe if I keep this commitment, I will in turn benefit from having been there and the results will show in knowledge gained, relationships fostered, and increased viewership on my YouTube channel.

Well said Rich. I had considered publishing something like this myself but I believe you pretty much knocked it out of the park. Prior to next yesr’s SHOT I’m going to write an “Internet Media’s Guide to Outdoor Trade Shows” article.

Oh and Will, if you need any help or guidance just give me a shout. We need more and more reputable guys who reflect well on internet media.

the NSSF may be thinking about more restrictions for online media, but that may come back to bite MFGs in the ass. Fewer people are buying the traditional guns rags. They are see by most as nothing more then longer ads with very little honest reviews. Can’t make some gun company mad with a mediocre or bad review! They might not buy a full page spread next month or send us writers demos and T&E models to keep and use for 6 months!! Newer buys more and more are turning to online sources for more in depth, honest and detailed reviews and talk on the industry, and its FREE. The majority of paper newstand gun rags are becoming a joke and loosing relevance for more then just looking at cool pictures or the very new to shooting or the very old stubborn who will not use a darn computer. Not to mention any new info in print mags is already very old compared to online sources.

yep, for new shooters who have flooded the market recently

do you still get all your new guns news and detail info from guns and ammo and shotoing times when its already 3 months late anyway. or off of gun blogs like this very one and gun forums?

recoil freshened the print mags, but not for long. they are being copied shamelessly and cool looking slick photos only goes so far,

Having a print magazine with a rising customer base is like have the best deck chair on the Titanic.

Yes, the sales of gun mags are rising, but that’s because gun mags are being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 1990’s after being stuck in about 1957 or so for the past 50 years. Once the digital revolution hits them like it’s hit every other niche print market, things will change.

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