Friday, October 31, 2008

The Post That Didn't Happen

I had this great idea for a weekly post a while back and had even contacted friend John R. over at Sigel's about assisting me with the information. As a reader of The Wall Street Journal, I've always enjoyed their Friday edition wine reviews and thought it would be helpful to list Dallas shops or restaurants that carry the wines The WSJ liked.

But on the very day when I was working on said post, in my mail arrived a large, glossy sales brochure featuring WSJwine - and everything stopped. Because even I could see the possibility of a conflict of interest between what they recommend and what they will be selling. While the disclaimer says they "operate independently from The Wall Street Journal's news department", it still opens a door of distrust for a publication that has an enviable reputation for integrity in reporting.

Today's article about "The Dow Jones Lamb Chop Challenge" brought this back to mind. While it anonymously solicits wine recommendations from wine retailers in six cities, the actual judgement of what "worked" was still done by WSJ writers. None of the 10 wines that were tasted were located on the WSJwine website as being for sale. But that doesn't mean that tomorrow the "partnership" might not sell it, after all some were recommended by the writers of The WSJ, isn't this what the partnership was formed for?

This very blog cross-markets, you see Sevy's Grill news every so often. But I disclose co-ownership on my profile (as well as in many posts), and I don't consider this a news venue - more of a "stories" venue. I try to be factually accurate, but have never represented myself as a journalist.

So that leaves me with two new questions: 1) to The WSJ - why do this?, and 2) to friend John R. at Sigel's - why even carry these wines that are cutting out the local business?

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