Misunderstanding: There is no Such Thing As a “Print” Writer in the Wine Media

printdigMedia reports out of and about the recent Wine Bloggers Conference as well as certain panels at the conference (I could not be there due to baby), have in some measure drawn attention to a severe misunderstanding among some about the nature of writing, blogging and media in general. The theme I’m referring to is the idea that there is “print media” on the one hand and something else (digital?) on the other. The sister theme to this is that “print writers” don’t have much to offer “bloggers” or non-print writers.

Let me clear up this misunderstanding: There is no such thing as a “print writer”.

The misunderstanding seems to have emerged from a seminar at the Wine Bloggers Conference unfortunately named “A Panel of Professional Print Writers” in which writers James Conaway, Mike Dunne and Steve Heimoff offered observations. I continue to be shocked that some folks today distinguish between “print writers” and others as though their output is different in a fundamental way because their work might also be published in print, as well as digitally.

How much writing today is not published digitally? There may be a poetry journal somewhere that insists its content can only be appreciated on a pulp based medium.

There are numerous styles of writing and reporting that show up on wine blogs and other digital media: Traditional reporting, ranting, straight wine reviews, commentary, opinion, how-to. The fact of the matter is that it waste of time to assume there is some difference between the substance of writing that appears in print as well as a digital format and writing that appears only on blogs. It’s a misunderstanding.

 

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  1. Joe Czerwinski - July 23, 2014

    Good point, Tom. And one that I’ve made repeatedly in the past. That’s why I don’t keep a twitter list of #winebloggers, just #winewriters.

    That said, there are often substantial differences in presentation between Web and print, which should inform the content itself. Content can be repurposed and published in different ways, but pieces written specifically for one delivery method are likely to be more effective in their intended environment than in the other.

  2. Tom Wark - July 23, 2014

    Nicely put, Joe.

    Regarding differences, aren’t you really just talking about mechanics and process, not necessarily the nature of the writing or the person doing the writing.

    • Thomas Pellechia - July 23, 2014

      Tom:

      As a writer, I’ve written for print and digital. The difference isn’t just mechanical. There’s a decided separation in the attention span of those who read from a screen and those who read from a book or magazine. One’s writing has to take that difference into account–and hope to be able to get across the same information at the same level of quality thinking/writing.

      Then there’s that pesky little thing called the English language and its grammar, which for some reason doesn’t survive well in digital form šŸ˜‰

    • Joe Czerwinski - July 23, 2014

      Tom,

      Partially the difference is one of delivery, but the form of the delivery will impact the nature of the writing.

      Take the slide show format as an example. Hugely popular online. In print, you might run 300 words for each image (say, 2/3 page for image, 1/3 for copy). In 300 words, you might include quotes from the photo subject or detailed background info. Online, the amount of text is usually more limited and possibly written in a different tone so you keep people breezily clicking along.

      On the other hand, online may be preferred for long, complicated stories that don’t necessarily lend themselves to dramatic print images. As print stories have gotten shorter and punchier, I think there’s still a place for 3,000-word narratives–and that place may well be online.

      IMO, what’s optimal writing for one delivery mechanism is likely suboptimal for the other.

  3. Amy Corron Power - July 26, 2014

    Tom, the misunderstanding is yours. It’s like saying there is no difference between corporate and pirate radio, stage acting and screen acting, Anthony Bourdain or Rachel Ray, Patti Smith or Celine Dion. Sadly, you continue to perpetuate the problem with your inability to acknowledge it, and need to defend it with patronizing posts like this one.

  4. Wine Blog » Blog Archive Grasshopper - July 28, 2014

    […] so, this week when I saw Tom Wark’s story about “Misunderstanding: There is no Such Thing As a ā€œPrintā€ Writer in the Wine Media,” I thought, “We all seem to be on the same track and under […]

  5. 1WineDude - August 5, 2014

    Tom, while I agree that the categorization is problematic and probably false, it remains that many online-only wine media folks and primarily-print wine media folks still draw lines between one another.

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