Straddling The Fence on Pinot Noir
Publicists are notorious Jacks-of-all-Trades. And I would say the same for myself. Though I think of myself primarily as a professional publicist working primarily in the wine industry, my work has taken me in a variety of directions.
Being a blogger has complicated this broadening of views even further.
On Thursday I'll be heading down to Pismo Beach to attend World of Pinot Noir, a festival in that town that focus entirely on Pinot Noir, the varietal's various incarnations, the foods to match with it, the producers that produce it. It's the kind of intensely focused wine fest that I've worked on as a publicist. This time I'll be covering it as a Blogger.
I was invited to attend. Besides getting there (a five hour drive from Sonoma)
all my major expenses are paid for by the festival organizers. This is how writers that the festival organizers want covering the event are usually treated. I've done the same sort of treating myself on a number of occasions. Frankly, it's a little weird being on the other end of the invitation.
The rules and expectations that come with inviting writers and journalists to events are almost always the same:
1. The writer is hosted gratis
2. They are expected to participate in a number of the events scheduled.
That's it. While the organizers hope the writer will find a story to write about and subsequently inform their readers about the event and what they learned, there is no quid pro quo. At least I've never made one nor heard of such a thing being suggested. But the fact is, I will be writing about the World of Pinot Noir, about the people in attendance, about it's organization, about observations I have, about the process.
This will make the organizers happy. But it puts my crotch fitted squarely on the top of the fence. Writer/blogger or publicist?
This fence straddling things is not so uncommon. In fact, folks move between journalism and PR on a regular basis. It's a natural flow that should be easy to understand. But doing both at the same time is somewhat more rare.
It turns out however, that making a career as a publicist is far easier than making a career as a writer. You can be pretty good at what you do and make a career as a publicist. You can't just be "pretty good" as a writer and make a career at it. Writing, particularly freelance writing, is an ego-busting, ass-dragging, often disappointing, competitive, underpaid, pie-in-the-sky career choice. It's grueling. PR….not so much.
So as I straddle the fence this coming weekend and indulge in Pinot Noir and the foods it can accompany, I'll be keeping this all in mind and trying to explore the nature of the fence and the splinters that end up in my ass.