Recently I had the privilege of seeing our humble blog, The Brew Club, listed on the Beer Bloggers Conference website. (The Beer Bloggers Conference is August 19-21 this year in Portland, and unfortunately I won’t be there.) Did you know there are at least 1000+ beer blogs out there! Perhaps, like planets, many more are out there that have yet to be discovered!
A thousand or so beer blogs sounds like a lot of beer blogs, (and it is) but I’ve also read that there are 20,000 foodie blogs and 2,000 or so wine blogs in the wild, so perhaps the field isn’t so crowded after all!
Anyway, the concept came up considering the ‘Beer Journalist’, and that got me thinking. What is a Beer Journalist? Could the esteemed writers 🙂 of The Brew Club, myself included, be considered Beer Journalists?
OK. Are you finished laughing? Let’s continue then! 🙂
Perhaps because I grew up prior to, and during the awesomeness that is online self-publishing, I have an idea that a journalist is someone who is formally trained in such things as a news reporter, magazine editor, or other professional something-or-other.
Doing my very basic and lazy research on what makes a person a journalist, it seems that “A journalist collects and disseminates information about current events, people, trends, and issues. His or her work is acknowledged as journalism.” Seems easy enough. Nothing about college degrees or being an intern for a respectable news organization like CNN (cough, cough).
I think maybe the main thing that identifies a journalist of any type, is the idea of maintaining credibility as prescribed in the Professional Journalist Code of Ethics. In a nutshell, the code of ethics encourages journalists to seek the truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable.
How does this apply to beer blogs, or beer journalists? I’m not sure yet. I know in my experience, this blog has mostly been about beer reviews. We have a beer, check it out, and write about it for the world to accept, reject, or more likely, simply ignore.
Beer reviews are subjective. When I write a beer review, its based on my experience – how I experienced the look, aroma, taste et-cetera. ‘Real’ journalism is supposed to be objective where the journalist takes in all perspectives, facts and other information and tries to convey the information in a neutral manner, letting the consumer make up his or her own mind.
So, how can being a beer blogger equate to being a beer journalist? I’m not sure that it always can be, (especially in the realm of beer reviews) based on the limited definition above. Beer is subjective, and I think that subjectivity allows one to come closer to the truth of the matter, even if its just talking about beer. Its at least my personal truth.
What’s your take? Is there more to journalism than publishing? In your mind, what distinguishes beer journalists from beer everybodyelseists?