Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wine Times

If you've read any other wine bloggers today then you probably know that The New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov has started a wine blog called The Pour. The winosphere is abuzz. Like others, I would say the more the merrier. But I would caution against getting overly excited about the addition of any particular voice.

One thing I've noticed of late is that newspapers everywhere seem to be adding blogs, about one thing or another, to their websites. I used to work in newspapers, so I still follow the business a bit. But you don't need any particular expertise to know the business is in trouble. Traditional readership is way down.

Consequently, newspapers have been trying to build online readership and are desperate to tap into the blogosphere. Part of the strategy is to establish their people as the more credible, the more informed of bloggers to be found. That, potentially, drives readers to the newspapers' websites, driving online advertising. Asimov, just by introducing himself to the blogosphere, had 95 comments, last I looked.

Nothing wrong with all that. But it makes me think of a graduate seminar I took last fall on blogging. One thing we all discovered together was that journalists rarely make the best bloggers. Great blogging is inherently personal. While it's important to know something about the subject at hand, being able to provide a provocative, genuine, from-the-gut insight is so much more resonant than sharpened prose and reportorial chops.

Asimov seems to know that -- he vows to avoid clinical tasting reports and terminology in favor of the personal experiences associated with tasting great wines with family and friends. Sounds great. Mr. Asimov probably has a wealth of such experiences to write about. But I plan to keep in mind that there is just as much to be gained from the rest of the blogosphere, from the countless others who are passionate about wines and whose collective experiences we grow richer from every day. We don't need no stinkin press passes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Bird Flu is expected to arrive in the USA or Canada this fall.
It said it killed almost 60% of those who got infected.
Is it true ?
What can we do to avoid it ?

1:56 PM  

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