Expectations of Conduct for Events and Media Trips

The Officers, Board Members and numerous journalist members, have worked hard over the years to build a positive reputation and influence for the IFWTWA within the industry we serve, but as we all know a reputation is a fragile thing – unprofessional behavior by only one or a few members can damage what we’ve worked hard to build and maintain.

Therefore, we require that any member participating in an industry event and/or a media trip – whether organized by the IFWTWA or not – adhere to our Code of Conduct as well as our Event and Media Trip Code of Conduct, which outlines a standard of behavior that will reflect positively upon the IFWTWA. This standard of behavior consists of – but is not limited to – the following:

  1. Journalistic integrity: Your written or broadcast content as a result of the trip should be accurate, factual, and free of bias or prejudice. If you are producing a review, you may naturally express your opinion provided that you clearly state that it is your personal opinion, and that you are not expressing such opinion in the capacity of representing the organization or its members.
  2. Trip communication: Members applying for or intending to apply for media trip acceptance shall NOT communicate with media trip hosts during the application process or at any time prior to the trip unless such communication has been initiated by the host. Any member who does so will forfeit his/her application for that trip and not be permitted to apply for another trip for 12 months. Any and all communication, questions, concerns shall go through the IFWTWA Administrative Director, Executive Director, Board of Directors or Media Trip Committee.
  3. Public behavior: An event is not a party, it’s an educational/networking opportunity. Likewise, a media trip is not a vacation; it is a business trip. In either case, hosts expect you to behave in a professional manner. This means making no demands, extending common courtesy to others, being gracious and using good manners at all times, keeping conversations polite and upbeat (please avoid controversial topics or opinions such as politics, religion and sex), and getting along with fellow event/trip attendees and hosts. Further, Members shall not engage in unwanted or inappropriate comments or actions of a sexual nature towards members, hosts, or anyone else.
  4. Attendance at events: Because the many members of our organization cover the areas of food, wine, and travel, trip hosts often schedule events and activities that include all of these. While attending a media trip, you are expected to attend all scheduled/hosted events during the trip, even those you may not be interested in, unless it is clearly stated by the host as ‘optional.’ Transportation to/from events and activities leaves on schedule. If you are late and miss the transportation, it is up to you to take a taxi at your own expense.
  5. Special health/physical needs: Members are expected to be in good enough health to travel and participate in all scheduled events of a given media trip. However, some scheduled activities may be physically strenuous. If you are physically unable to participate in an activity, let the IFWTWA Media Trip Coordinator or Administrative Director know in advance of the trip, and we will advise the trip host and ask for an alternative. Please understand there is no guarantee that an alternative activity will be available.
  6. Dress: Please dress professionally and appropriately for all single-day events as well as all scheduled events and activities during a media trip. In most cases, this simply means business casual, but be prepared for a more formal evening event. If you’re unsure of what to pack, ask the IFWTWA Media Trip Coordinator for the trip’s agenda.
  7. Food/Beverages: Food and beverages are a significant part of all single-day events and media trips. Members are expected to understand and adhere to the following guidelines:
    1. Most events and trips include pre-planned menus including paired beverages. If this is the case, please do NOT ask for substitutions or to order from an a la carte menu. If you have food or dietary restrictions, please make note of this before the event or on the Application for the trip and ask for host confirmation from the IFWTWA Media Trip Coordinator or Administrative Director prior to the event or trip. Please understand that there is no guarantee that a host can accommodate special dietary needs.
    2. If a meal is being served a la carte, please don’t order more food than you can consume. If your goal is to taste as many dishes as possible, ask instead if the chef can prepare a tasting plate instead of full meals.
    3. Generally speaking, soft drinks are served with lunch, and alcoholic beverages are served with dinner. Please do not order an alcoholic beverage at lunch unless it is offered by the host (not the wait staff). If wine/beer/cocktails are being served, please limit your consumption to one or two drinks, and behave with decorum.
    4. Please do NOT ask if you can purchase a bottle of wine/liquor unless it has been offered as you may put the host in the uncomfortable position of feeling obligated to gift it to you.
    5. Please remember that we rely on the goodwill of hosts for future events, and nothing will destroy this faster than clouded judgment, controversial opinions, and poor behavior resulting from too much alcohol consumption. Please drink responsibly.
    6. Notification of allergies and/or physical limitations must be disclosed to the media trip coordinator and the potential host on the application for the trip. The IFWTWA group leader will verify that specific allergy information has been conveyed to the restaurant/s so that lengthy side conversations with the server will be unnecessary, and discussions of allergy issues stay away from the table.
  8. Tips: Please keep in mind that while hosts are generally picking up the tab for meals, drinks, and activities, in many cases this does not include tips. Be prepared to tip the service help at the same level as you would if you were paying your own way unless the media trip prearranges the tips to be paid at the outset.
  9. Attention during presentations: Event and trip hosts often have a lot of information and material to provide in a short time, so if a presentation is being given, please pay attention and don’t use it as an opportunity to promote yourself or give advice, even if you have greater knowledge or experience than the presenter. If you want to discuss your own interests with the sponsor, host, or presenter, please wait until there is free time or follow up via email later.
  10. Cell phone use: If you have a cell phone, please keep it on vibrate and do not take calls during events, activities, and presentations. The only acceptable use of a mobile device is for live social media promotion of the sponsor/host/event or activity, but please check with the host first, and ensure that your use does not inconvenience other attendees.
  11. Grievances and problems: At all events, members shall avoid making critical comments about hosts. If you have a problem with a facet of the event or trip or any member also attending, please discuss this with the IFWTWA Media Trip Coordinator or another Board Member who may be attending. Please do so out of the hearing of the host and/or other members.
  12. Snail mail: Some trip hosts will graciously offer to mail printed materials home for you. Please do NOT ask for this if it isn’t offered. If they do offer, be sure to drop off your materials within the designated time frame to the location specified. Please do NOT ask them to mail personal or other items home for you also.
  13. Post Trip Clips: Members attending IFWTWA-organized media trips must produce at least one published, broadcast or blogged media clip within nine months of the trip. The balance of the promises outlined in your application form must be met within 12 months of the trip. Additionally, all trip attendees are expected to submit their clips via links or PDFs to IFWTWA and to the trip host(s) WITHIN 30 days of publication. Remember, No Clips, No Trips.

    To help our volunteers expedite updating the Trip Clips Results page with links to your articles, please submit each of your media placement clips using the Trip Clip Submission Form. Find your trip’s host information on the specific trip’s summary under the Member Media Placements webpage.
  14. Cancellations: Cancellations have become problematic for our organization and the relationships we forge with our hosts, who expend countless hours of collaborative effort to craft IFWTWA-sponsored media trips. Their perception of IFWTWA’s professionalism is paramount to our organization. We must provide our hosts with the opportunity to choose from an exceptional group of vetted journalists who will bring their passion for human experience, good journalism and integrity to the table.

    The IFWTWA board has developed a policy regarding member cancellations for media trips with a focus on member responsibility. If a member cancels (or fails to respond) after being accepted as a participant on an IFWTWA media trip, s/he will still be expected to pay the registration fee within 5 days and will be suspended from attending subsequent media trips and events for 12 months.

    Exceptions include death of a family member and media trips which are open ended or without set dates at time of application. For personal or family illness or injury, the member will be asked to send a doctor’s note by email. These and other situations/reasons for cancelling one’s attendance on a trip for which they have applied and been accepted will be heard by the IFWTWA board and voted on as to whether the registration fee and/or suspension from future trips will be applied.

We are sincerely grateful for every member who attends media trips, and this document is intended to ensure that you understand the expectations. Non-adherence to the above—or other poor/unprofessional behavior as determined by the Board—will likely result in being banned from future IFWTWA-organized media trips, and may, depending upon the severity of the infraction, result in expulsion from the association.

By reading the above Event and Media Trip Code of Conduct, members understand and agree that failure to adhere to them can result in the IFWTWA’s Board revoking the privilege of attending future events and/or trips for up to 12 months or can cause immediate loss of membership, depending on the severity of the infraction(s).