A couple months back, during an energetic debate in our online forums, I made the following statement regarding the blogosphere:
"This is the problem with the 'blogosphere'. It's a lazy person's journalism. No one does any real research, but rather they just slap some hyperlinks up and throw a little conjecture at the wall, and presto! you get some hits and traffic..."
The statement was in response to the way in which things are too-often reported on the Internet. Rather than each blogger doing their own journalistic research and getting their own information directly from the source, I find they often simply pass along already-published information, without factchecking it, signing off on it as if it were (almost) their own.
Following that comment, I was excoriated in a number of blogs for making what was deemed an overly broad and dismissive comment—and one that was construed as particularly hypocritical considering I have my own blog. Many of them missed the point I was trying to make.
I've had long conversations with folks about what they consider 'blogging' to be, and what they wished it would be. I prefer to use the blog to pass along hard information, about new domaines, new wines and such. (You can read my mission statement from my first blog post here.)
In addition, the harvest blogs we've included recently, written by winemakers in the throes of picking grapes, is exactly the kind of hands-on, first person information I want to read about.
In contrast, blog posts about wine within the context of my personal life are, to be honest, not my favorite posts to write. I do understand that many folks enjoy reading more personal entries. But still, I wrestle with them all the time.
So what brought this to the forefront for me? I read a quote from CNN's Christiane Amanpour, an experienced and top-flight international news correspondent. In response to a question from The Huffington Post on how she viewed bloggers abroad versus those in the U.S., she said:
"I think that in the West sometimes blogging is an excuse for sitting back and just commenting on life as it passes by and putting out your opinions on what is happening. Sometimes those are interesting, but not always. And the truth of the matter is I do not believe, no matter how sophisticated the delivery platform, I don't [think] there is a substitute or should there be a substitute for professional journalism, which comes with training, with experience, with credibility, with developing trust based on the accuracy of your record in the field. I think that is an absolute must. That must stay with us so that people have an accurate and objective reference point for their information."
Funny, this very blog could be argued as having fallen into the trap that both Amanpour and I feel that many blogs have become, but I would still like to raise the following questions, while keeping them focused strictly in terms of wine, of course.
How do you vet and subsequently choose what wine information sources you use? Are wine blogs important to you, and what do you like or dislike about wine-related blogs?