Recategorizing the Wine Blog
The ongoing Wine Media Conference (formerly known as the Wine Bloggers Conference) isn’t the worst place to consider whether “wine blogs” matter enough or are of such consequence today, that they deserve to no longer be segregated into their own separate space?
This was the implied question when Cyril Penn, editor in chief of Wine Business Monthly and keynote speaker at the conference today, noted that his publication was in the midst of redesigning their popular morning Daily News email that aggregates stories from around the web and emails them out to subscribers. In that email, Wine Business lists and links to those trade-related stories they deem most important that have dropped in the past 24 hours. It is also the email in which they separate out “blogs” from “other” sites.
As Cyril pointed out, the Daily News will sometimes put a blog article in the first section where stories from other sites are posted, rather than in the second section that is labeled “Featured Blogs”. This is true and it happened just today, as a matter of fact. But this is the exception, rather than the rule.
In fact, during Cyril’s excellent keynote speech, he took the time to recount the history of the wine blog, its development over time and made the point that they have turned out important voices in the wine media world.
Segregating out wine blogs from other types of publishing vehicles made sense for a time. There was a time, such as when the Wine Bloggers Conference first was held in 2008, when blogs and the independent voices they supported were not just novel but something worth gawking at. Here were these interlopers that were going entirely around traditional wine publishers to reach the same audiences. That was not just new, but a significant enough development to highlight. And after all, at that time question of wine blogs’ utility hadn’t been decided.
Thirteen years later we know the answer to that question. Not only is the utility of the blog well-established, but they have also become an integral part of the wine mediaverse. And if I’m right about this, then it begs the question, what is the value of identifying an article running in a blog as anything other than simply an article?
Whether Wine Business Monthly chooses to get rid of the “Featured Blog” section in its Daily News email or chooses to keep it probably isn’t that important. The Daily News email will still be scanned for the important trade news of the day and readers will still scan down to the section titled “Featured Blogs”.
However, there would be one consequence to integrating blog posts into its main section of stories: It would rid the blogs of an implied “second class status”. This would be a good thing and an acknowledgment that wine blogs are no longer suspect; they are no longer interlopers that need to be closely watched for evidence of their amateur authors or editorial transgressions; they are commonplace and significant parts of today’s mediaverse.