Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The era of 'Pay To Play' is upon us?

I had to reply to this post from a media forum poster:

We all know how the credit crunch is squeezing us but I was amused by the
fact that the Open University feels that journalists should expect to pay in
order to attend a conference in Milton Keynes. Anyone else been asked to pay
to cover events from other universities or is the Open Uni about to declare
itself full of toxic debt and demand to be nationalised.


Thank you for your email and interest in the ReLIVE08 Conference.
Registration officially closed on the 22nd September however we are holding
four places for journalists and members of the press, on a first come first
served basis, for which we could offer you a special registration rate of

If you would like to attend please could you send your completed
registration and payment forms to us ASAP.

We hope to see you at the Conference in November.

Best wishes
ReLIVE08 Conference Team

I feel your pain. If it is one in your side from laughing.

Just last weekend I was not in London and Brighton for an event run with the participation of UoBrighton.

As a consequence of a kind recommendation from a PR I think I met via these pages, I was 'invited' as you were to an event. I thanked them and pointed out that 3 days away, accommodation and travel were quite enough for me to bear without a fee on top, so ta but no ta.

Having seen my email signature links on Junkk.com I was surprised then to be reinvited, only this time to speak. As it seemed a nifty networking opportunity I agreed.

Sadly, having got cracking on my topic, Powerpoints, etc, it all went the shape of a pear when it was clarified that this was still for a fee (only... that I paid them), but would be reduced vs. other delegates.

The era of 'pay to play' beyond music is with us I guess:(

However, I really struggle to see why I should fund others who go on to profit from charging an audience to share in what I am willing to bring to them, especially when it is all billed as 'helping the planet'. This whole industry is becoming thoroughly discredited, as well as being totally unrepresentative. I was at one a while ago that was £1k for the day, and the only folk there were govt. and LAs and Uni types paid for, big business and lobbyists on expenses and almost no grass roots folk to represent the average person. Which may explain why a lot of these 'summit's result in stuff few with a mortgage, Fiesta and once a week dash round Lidl can identify with.

Rgds, Peter

ps: The 'RE' prefix piqued my interest as I thought this might be another 'green' effort, and hence one I might be interested in, as I am pondering holding an eco-conference using it that does not depend on your ability to pay, get there or who lobbies a slot based on 'knowing people' or being a media luvvie.

In fact I note it refers to Second Life, which I am very interested in for its ability to bring people together, for free, without needing to fly or drive further than their PC screen. My partner now holds live international concerts using it and though she may have to stay up late or get up early to catch an Asia or US audience at their favoured time, it doesn't half make for a better gig on family life, for wallet... and planet.

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