Pat Jones' anti-media MISO rule in IBTTA program for Orlando annual meeting in September
By Peter Samuel
2012-08-02: IBTTA CEO Pat Jones' MISO ('media-in-sessions-only') rule is in the fine print of the program for the toll industry association's annual meeting in Orlando FL September 9-12, it has been pointed out. Page 20 in the right column contains the small item: "Members of the credentialed media are welcome to attend sessions only..." (see nearby)
see p20 right column, middle of page
This delegitimizes media people from informal interaction with attendees at breakfast, lunch, afternoon drinks, and dinner and in periods of informal conversation outside sessions. It also potentially cuts them out of technical tours, and out of the exhibits - neither of which are 'sessions.'
Now Pat Jones told me that as a special privilege at the Atlanta conference July 22-24 that he wasn't enforcing the MISO rule during the breakfast and lunch. In an email that I only read properly after my return from Atlanta - my decision to go was last minute - he said to me: "even though this is not our policy, you are welcome to attend the breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday."
To his word Jones honored that "privilege" in Atlanta but he chose to confront me at afternoon/evening informal sessions as described previously here:
Asked why he was imposing the media-out rule he simply claimed it was "the wish of our members" and that it had been endorsed by the board of directors. So far as I can establish both these are baseless. When he repeated this at the second confrontation, and I said that I'd checked it out and he was lying to me, he responded with the sneering challenge whispered 2 inches from my face: "And what are you going to do about it?"
Answer: talk and write.
MISO is a new rule because IBTTA's Atlanta July 22-24 was the first time it was imposed. Over nearly two decades of IBTTA events that I've attended the media have been made to feel welcome by IBTTA outside sessions as well as at the sessions. There has hitherto been no hint of MISO.
MISO is anti-media because at least 50 percent of the value of such conferences lies in the opportunities for meeting industry members informally and discussing things with them in a one-on-one or a small group setting.
MISO is unworkable. Media people can't be rounded up after sessions end and expelled from the environs of the conference and then readmitted when sessions begin. Or can they?
MISO has not been justified. Pat Jones' claim that members wish it and that the board endorsed it are false. He has no argument to justify it except the challenge to his lies: "And what are you going to do about it."
MISO is not "our policy" as Jones' falsely describes it alluding to board and membership consideration and vote. It is a Jones-only policy. One person alone is trying to impose it and for no good reason.
MISO is not about the right of IBTTA members to have their private meetings or private sessions. Of course they have that right. MISO is about a blanket ban on informal interaction with willing-to-talk members before sessions, between sessions, and after sessions. And it seems to be a ban on media going on IBTTA technical tours and into the IBTTA exhibit area. After all, they are not "sessions."
MISO is subversive of the interests of IBTTA and the toll industry which lie in a media that is better informed, better connected and more familiar with the people and issues at toll industry conferences.
MISO is not just 'about Samuel.' It can be used against any journalist-member interaction.
COMMENT WELCOME (including and especially from Pat Jones)