LAST CALL: Burning Man Festival's strict media requirements leave reporters all fired up

Last Call expects top corporations to want to control how they're seen in the press. But counter-culture festivals? We have to say that we were surprised to learn how seriously the annual Nevada-based Burning Man Festival takes its PR.

Last Call expects top corporations to want to control how they're seen in the press. But counter-culture festivals? We have to say that we were surprised to learn how seriously the annual Nevada-based Burning Man Festival takes its PR.

The event - which took place last weekend - started in 1986 as a celebration of art and radical self-expression. It now attracts around 25,000 participants.

Moreover, with the Black Rock Desert providing a dramatic backdrop, it has become a magnet for the media.

The alternative festival sees participants come dressed in wild costumes, with some stripping naked. But when it comes to the media's freedom of expression, "mistress of communications" Marian Goodell reigns with a firm hand.

Only about half of the 400 media requests have been approved this year and commercial filming is not allowed, unless film makers have discussed use with organizers.

Media participants are expected to state their story angle in excruciating detail, and the press staff (described as "Media Hos" on the website) will suggest they steer clear of what they call "media myths" about the nature of the event.

So PR people, take note: Last Call has heard complaints from some that the PR staff are violating First Amendment rights. Though we can't help but wonder if these journalists aren't just a bit nervous about having to dress up and camp out with all those crazy ex dot-commers.

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