Friday, June 25, 2010

PR without the P or the R

Instead of writing this post from Konda, where I am working on their monthly Barometer survey, I was supposed to be at the Middle East Economic Association's annual conference in Istanbul.

But when I inquired at the PR firm organizing the conference on press registration, I was directed to their regular registration page, a polite way of saying that I had to pay like everyone else. After making a small calculation, I figured there would be no way I would even break even this way, so I politely explained that press should be able to attend such conferences. A long silence followed, after which an academic, cced to their response to me, wrote, saying that I could follow the conference as a member of the press (thanks for the generosity), but I would have to pay for the gala dinner (as if I had asked for that)- as you'd appreciate, a fee will be charged for the gala dinner were the exact words. I was really fed up with all this, so I just gave up... 

And the funny thing is that a member of the program committee, who is also on the scientific contacts list, had emailed one of our seasoned reporters, asking if she would make it to the conference and promising exclusives if she did. Well, the treatment I received was really exclusive...

Now, you tell me: Does this behavior have anything to do with public or relations?

As loyal readers would know, one of my long-term column ideas is the quality of services. It seems that if I go like at this rate, I will soon plenty of case studies for my column.

But I should be fair; the PR firm at the Garanti Future Summit was first-rate (except the internet scandal); the guy we dealt with went out of his way to grant us interviews with both of the speakers, which formed the pillars of my Hurriyet column the following week.

In the meantime, I have decided not to attend any conferences in Turkey, a promise I am bound to break, but still...

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