Conference treats press like crap; treats CEOs like butt buddies; doesn't give me a beer
I’ve been thinking a bit about how to get another post or two out of the Wall Street Journal Eco:nomics conference.
But you know what? The Wall Street Journal Eco:nomics conference can blow me.
I’ve never been to a conference where the press was more walled off. And this was a conference by a media company! First off, laptops weren’t allowed in the main presentation room — too “distracting.” (Who’s distracted by a guy with a laptop in the back of the room?) So there was no way to post real-time updates from the main room. That meant we were stuck down in the press room, watching the conference on TV.
To boot, the press wasn’t allowed in the lunch roundtables. Or the cocktail reception before dinner. Or the dinner. Or the “cordials” after dinner. Or the breakfast roundtables the following day. Practically speaking, this all but precluded press from having unscripted encounters with conference participants and speakers — always the best parts of these conferences.
We were at least fed dinner, but — and this was the unkindest cut of all — no alcohol. You don’t deny journalists their booze! You just don’t.
So basically, press got to watch the thing on TV in a dry basement room. Perhaps if the conference sessions had been scintillating — or at least as entertaining as last year, when none of these press restrictions were in effect — it would have been all right. But frankly, the conference was boring, wonky, and flat. Corporate PR was dutifully delivered by folks like Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Duke CEO Jim Rogers, in the face of questioning that could charitably be described as friendly. Gore delivered his usual shtick. Inane cranks like Bjorn Lomborg and Vaclav Klaus delivered their usual shtick. And so on.
So I could squeeze another post out if I tried, give the thing a little more publicity, but I never got my beer, so eff it. I already tweeted that b*tch anyway.