Now, surely you’re wondering: How is Mesh gonna screw up next? By shutting out the press.

The much-unloved Mesh Conference – that modern, now, up-to-the-minute “Web 2.0” confab – has scheduled a panel entitled “Are Bloggers Journalists?” Now, what if we’re both? Here’s the response I got when I filed a request for press credentials.

From: “Manne, Robert” <Robert.Manne@edelman.com>

Hi[,] Joe,

Thank you for your note regarding mesh [sic]. We are sorry we cannot accommodate your request.

Accreditation for mesh [sic] closed a few weeks back as we had a limited number of spots available on first-come, first-served basis.

Like when I first started covering the conference on March 23? (And the conference’s press policy was published where?)

Isn’t there a press table at the back of the room? If the Globe and Mail or CITY-TV shows up unannounced on conference day, will they be locked out, too? No, right?

There still may be tickets left if you would like to attend the conference and we hope to see you there.

Robert Manne

[Top-posted original message redacted]

Ah, yes. Edelman.

Remember them? They expect you not to, but some of us have a better memory.

Edelman is the PR agency that, a mere five years earlier, had threatened me with legal action for asking a client a technical question. After I published that exchange, I received the following fusillade:

Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 15:15:05 -0500

Dear Mr. Clark,

I find your tone and actions completely unjustifiable, malicious, slanderous, unprofessional and creating an extremely serious legal issue for yourself. Further, your request for an interview was not on behalf of a credentialed publication and therefore, you have no claim or right to or for a formal interview. An interview request for an online, non credentialed website and chat room does not provide you with the same access or rights as a credential media publications. Further, your manipulation of the formal correspondence that was sent to you (of which we have kept copies) is unethical and in extremely poor judgment and violates any and all basic rules of journalism, assuming you are a journalist and familiar with such rules.

With those facts present, you have until 5:00pm PDT today to remove and modify your liable statements related to Edelman and Ms. Akbarzad or Edelman will be forced to take immediate and swift recourse. Also, while I can not speak on behalf of Apple on this issue, I would assume Apple will not think highly of your actions or statements or find any of this acceptable.

Harry Pforzheimer
President, Western Region
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

With that history, would this really be a good time to get cheap and tell a member of the press he can pony up like everybody else?

Since that same episode was well covered in the press, even in a book, would this have been an opportune moment to comp a member of the press? Especially someone with my credentials, and especially someone like me, the conference’s toughest critic?

I’m sure you also noted that Edelman got in bed with Technorati. From their newsletter, dated 2005.09.23 (emphasis added):

Blogger PR survey

Bloggers interact with companies and their products daily and often blog about their most or least favorite product or feature. Many companies and public relations agencies are interested in engaging active users with more information about their products including free products for review and blogs created by product teams to share their insights and developments.

Technorati has partnered with leading public relations firm Edelman [!] to survey the blogosphere for opinions on public relations, corporate communications, and best practices for companies wanting more active involvement with the blogging community.

Edelman is trying hard to look like it knows what it’s doing with bloggers, but, sort of like Republicans dealing with blacks, their true feelings keep popping out at inconvenient moments – like this one.

Mesh Conference: It’s all about the conversation.

(The old NUblog has been offline for the better part of three years. The Wayback Machine isn’t helping me here, but in fact the entire old NUblog archives are going back online in a project resuscitated just for Mesh Conference. Soon you’ll be able to read the whole contretemps yourself.)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.05.10 18:07. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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