Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Vast Gulf?

Tom and Derrick discuss the differences between oenobloggers and professional wine writers in the comments thread of a recent Fermentations post. Tom's hypothesis that "there remains a vast gulf between the work of the professional and the work of those who frequent electronic stores and software emporiums" initiated the discussion.

Their point / counter-point established some reasonable notions that I, of course, would like to comment on:
(my comments in italics)

  1. Professionals are paid and have a resultant responsibility. Professional responsibility to who? To their employers and subscribers/readers...but how about the almighty dollar and those pesky advertisers?
  2. Professionals have editors. Spell check don't cut it. Advantage professionals.
  3. Professionals tend to have more relevant experience. All that wine - I wish!
  4. Professionals have a better grasp of publishing. Is that why I have a "Publish Post" button on Blogger?
  5. Bloggers' relative inexperience can be an asset. Still looking for that never-before used tasting descriptor.
  6. Bloggers push the topics of conversation to areas that professionals won't explore. Huge and Tom are kings of this hill.

But back to that vast gulf. Is there a cue to be taken from outside of the wine world?

I frequent blogs in the much-less-interesting-than-wine political blogosphere. Blogging pioneers like Professor Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, John Marshall at Talking Points Memo and Grad student Josh Chafetz of OxBlog created an agenda, which the main stream press wouldn't cover, and blogged it. Many would even say Glenn got Dan Rather fired for rapidly creating/spreading the word on those ill-fated Texas National Guard documents. Or that John contributed greatly to Bernie Kerick stepping down for Dept. of Homeland Security. All three are now getting more exposure (upwards of 100,000 visits per day at Instapundit) than they ever could have dreamed of. Not to mention the occasional New York Times bylines.

I believe that one of today's wine bloggers will be published by a major media outlet in 2005. For sure that major outlet won't be Wine Spectator - but that's for their own protectionist reasons. One only has to look at the mainstream nods that Vinography has already gotten of late from the Sacramento Bee and Bon Apetit. Its coming.

Is there a gulf? Yeah, sure there is. Is it vast? I don't think so. Will it be overcome? You can bet your Cheval Blanc it will.