At CES 2008, respectable press and barely-tolerated bloggers were separated into groups with different badges but mostly similar levels of access. At Macworld 2008, there was, theoretically, only one badge for all types of press. In reality? Some hacks were more equal than others.
- The lowest level goes to bloggers and reporters from sites with few readers — they get onto the show floor for free, but don't get entry into the all-important Steve Jobs keynote.
- The standard press badge, pictured above, gives access to all the floor and the special media section of the keynote.
- The truly special press have the VIP ribbon (left) affixed to their badge. We spotted one on John Markoff of the New York Times, Newsweek's Steven Levy, and Walt Mossberg of the Walt — sorry, Wall Street Journal. A Macworld veteran told us they're reserved for "geezers."
When the doors opened for press to enter the keynote, broadcast media were let in first — but Mossberg used his clout to cut in line. "I'm VIP," he said, waved his badge and walked past. The rest of us had to deal with security guards with a small Apple logo emblazoned on their black shirts like we were paparazzi waiting to get into a restaurant where Britney Spears was eating.
We didn't rate VIP status, but we had something better: Fake Steve Jobs!