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Artvoice Flipped-Off by Frack Conference

The DUG East conference, which apparently stands for “developing unconventional gas” got underway at 11:30am this morning in Pittsburgh, PA. At 5pm this evening there’s an opening reception sponsored by Halliburton. The event, which has alliterative subtitles like “Unleashing the Utica” and “Monetizing the Marcellus,” features a cavalcade of pro-fracking speakers. The headliner is Republican political strategist Karl Rove, who recently had such difficulty coming to grips with Barrack Obama’s win in Ohio on election night.

The website for DUG East lists an email address for media/press inquiries. Last Tuesday, November 6, I sent an email requesting admission to the event, but never received a reply. The conference is being coordinated by Hart Energy. Here’s how Hart describes itself on its website:

Hart Energy provides specialized data/information products and member-only services to targeted audiences worldwide and ranks among the leading providers of news, data and analysis for the global energy industry. Hart Energy clients derive from the energy industry, the financial and investment community, engineering and automotive industries, utilities, leading NGOs and the world’s major governments.

I placed a call to Hart Energy today, to find out why I never received a reply to my request for admission. I was transferred to Susan Emfinger (pronounced “m” as in “middle”—finger) who handles such requests. Emfinger said she didn’t remember receiving a request from me.

“Is there something on the agenda you are writing about?” She asked. “Why are you wanting to attend?”

I told her I’d been interested in attending the overall conference. I was interested in monetizing the Marcellus, and unleashing the Utica.

“Ok. Do you have some clips you can send me, of your work?” She asked. When I asked her why, she said: “Because I don’t know who you are.”

I told her I could send some stuff, but considering that the conference starts today, I was also interested in the reason why my initial request had been ignored. We verified that I’d sent it to the correct email address— Then she wanted to know my position at Artvoice.

“Associate Editor,” I said.

She said that if I were to send her another email she could look at it “right quick.” Then she asked me if I was driving to Pittsburgh. Not having been granted admission yet, I told her that in the meantime I was instead starting to write something on our blog, describing the fact that my request for admission had been ignored. She apologized for that.

So, I went ahead and sent her an email with several links to fracking-related stories I’ve written. Here’s the email I received in return:

Mr. Quigley,
First, as I stated on the phone, your initial request wasn’t ignored, it was an oversight on my part. I take the blame, and again, I apologize.  I think you did the right thing this morning by picking up the phone and calling me personally with your request.  Unfortunately, you do not meet our press pass policy.
Complimentary press passes are available to recognized, professional members of the media who are “working press” on assignment covering the event or the companies presenting.  To qualify for a pass, you must be employed by or freelance for the editorial side of a business, financial, or general news print or online publication — or produce news segments for a broadcast network. Your role or title at the print or online publication or broadcast network cannot be in a sales, promotional, or executive capacity.  If you are a freelancer, we will require the assigning editor’s contact information to verify.
If you are still interested in attending, please feel free to register onsite as an attendee.
Susan D. Emfinger
Communications and Media Relations Manager

Hart Energy – Global Headquarters
1616 S. Voss
Suite 1000
Houston, TX 77057
Direct +1 713 260 1069
Cell +1 832 289 8999
Main +1 713 260 6400
FAX +1 713 840 8585

What am I supposed to do? Point out that I am “employed as an editor of a news print or online publication”? I told her so on the phone, and it’s right there in the signature on my email. Could it be something I said?

So, dear reader, it looks like we would have to ante up $995 if I want to cover the event for Artvoice. Plus $495 if I want to cover the finance/M&A workshop. I’m already too late for the water workshop, which took place at 11:30am today, and would’ve run another $495.

In lieu of fresh coverage of this current fracking conference, click here to read highlights of a past event wherein participants bragged about schmoozing newspapers, cozying up to universities, and employing military PSYOPS personnel to combat adversaries.


  • Jim_Holstun

    Perhaps you-the-associate-editor could assign the job to you-the-freelancer.

    The Divine Ms. Em doesn’t seem to be too gifted in the reading department, or maybe it’s hard to read though her tears: the financial prospects are not looking up for the merry fracksters:


  • William Huston


    This is outrageous. You ARE a working, professional journalist! They want to see samples of your work? Why is that? Is it open to the press? Or is it an “invited” press corps filled with only suitably vetted “head-bobbing assentors”?

    I’ll tell ya Buck. Here’s my rule of thumb. I NEVER ask permission. (if you ask, they can say no. Then what?)

    So, I just show up, with my IMC press pass, and walk on in. If they don’t let me in, I roll cameras and cover the scene.

    I’ve never tried to cover Karl Rove, either, so I’m sure it’s got a whole new level of security.

    Where is my pocket US Constitution…. ?
    (looking for the First Amendment)
    ah yes, here it is. On the back of my IMC press pass…. 🙂

  • William Huston