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Reporters at Sun Valley bemoan secretiveness of conference

The Sun Valley Lodge is seen on the first day of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 05, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The Sun Valley Lodge. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Media and tech heavyweights, politicians and financiers rubbed elbows all week during Allen & Co.'s annual Sun Valley conference, aka "summer camp for moguls."

Why it matters: Even as media stocks get pummeled, it's a good bet that these media magnates laid the groundwork for some future deals.

What they're saying: The secretive nature of the conference means that even reporters on the ground in Idaho are hard-pressed to gain much insight into what's going on inside. We asked some of those who attended what they saw:

New York Magazine features writer Shawn McCreesh: "Sun Valley is both amusing and emetic. In our M&A-mad age, we've got this handful of people who control what and how we read, watch and click."

  • "They park their jets next to one another and disappear into that lodge and reporters bake out in the sun and get almost no hard news out of it."
  • "It's like a comedy of manners. For the 1%. On a mountain. In Idaho. It's bizarre!"

Variety TV business writer Jennifer Maas: "As a first-timer covering Sun Valley, I already expected reporting out the cloak-and-dagger event to be incredibly difficult."

  • "Based on everything I heard from Variety's top business reporters who were previously tasked with getting as many quotes and details as possible out of the mogul attendees, I was ready to spend hours waiting around for any small bits and pieces of info. But it was nearly an impossible task this year, with security further limiting the areas press were allowed to enter on the private property."
  • "It's certainly not Allen & Co.'s responsibility to give the media access to its attendees or even the grounds, but I think the higher hurdles put in place this year, combined with how many guests were going out of their way to avoid being spotted by press, means it's not going to be worth reporters' time to venture to Idaho annually anymore."
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