Sorry to our readers of Iberian wine news, because today, is a blogger show. I listen to TWIT religiously. If you are even tangentially interested in the online tech world, I highly suggest it. Each week, they talk about gadgets, websites and online issues, and occasionally, it directly applies to my life.
A few weeks ago, TWIT featured an episode on “The Death of Journalism”, asking the following guest speakers to chime in with their educated thoughts and opinions: Leo Laporte, Steve Gillmor, Mark Frauenfelder, and Molly Wood. Now, although I’ve heard this argument several times before, I usually consider it “the sky is falling” rhetoric, where we all complain about how everything is changing and nothing is good in the world. But during this episode, I actually let down my guard and heard a suprisingly compelling argument.
If big media fails, specifically newspapers, and replaced by online streams, such as blogs and distribution devices such as Twitter, will investigative journalism suffer? In the past, a newspaper could hire a reporter to spend a week on one story, digging deep and looking for the meat, bolstered by their impressive budget. While today, TWIT presented the argument that people with blogs tend to react without reflection, riff on a news story for a few lines, smear a little gossip around, and then try to call it journalism.
Generally, I agree with this argument, or at the very least, that it could lead to a problem if we are not careful. If we never look any deeper than what we think of a particular wine, or rehash the wine encyclopedia’s definition of a region, what are we accomplishing? Some may debate that the role of a wine writer is only to educate and expand knowledge, but shouldn’t we also help create change? Should wine writers/bloggers take and expose issues, challenge ideas and report on news? Or are we only here to taste a new vintage and report only on its positive/negative elements?
Currently we play the editorial section of the wine worlds newspaper. Off the cuff responses to the latest news and events, regurgitating. But can we be more? Catavino is as guilty as the next person when it comes to spewing something out without fully digging into it. Reacting off the cuff without fully analyzing. Granted, we’ve been fighting this issue ourselves over the past year, and for example, I know that Gabriella dug deep into the history of Patxaran to get the full story, and I commend her for it. Dr.Vino is another blogger that comes to mind in conducting investigative reporting with his look at wine’s carbon footprint. Granted, he’s really an exception, considering that his research resulted in a book. What I want to know is whether Wine Bloggers can make a difference, showing that we can professionally fill in the gap when the major wine rags finally collapse (though I would say that many wine rags wouldn’t know good fact checking journalism if it bit them on the nose).
I’m sure these pieces already exist out there, and if so, please link to them in the comment’s section. And while Gabriella’s Pataxaran article was investigative, it is not exactly what I’m talking about. What are the topics that need investigating and can a blogger that doesn’t blog for a living really afford the time to dig deep. What are the questions that we should be asking? What are the stories that still need to be told? Or is wine journalism only about vintages, tasting notes and historic profiles?
Leave your ideas below!
Update #1 Nice look at the issue can be found here: Reporter vs Expert – Why Most Bloggers Are Stuck Reporting