Andy has another good post up this week about the sorts of ethical standards of journalism as (what I would argue) befits that particular corner (but not the other corners) of what I consider collectively to be "beer writing." I won't copy his bit (as you can follow the link above) but I did want to post my (sad putative attempt of a) comment from earlier, rejected (utterly) due to my (undeniable) need to include a link at the end of it was not acceptable to Andy's (normally quite unmoderated) comment leaving system:
I think this is an example of where I think we are missing the idea of sliding scales (as opposed to slippery slopes).See, I was being cheeky...yet on point if you notice who is in that photo. So now you can be cheeky about me if you like in return as I am now off on a glorious half-day vacation to drive the 401 to Toronto to enjoy the benefit of a comp tickie to a dinner just as I myself have been the conduit whereby others have received comps this same weekend.- First, I assume all beer writing is tempered or effected by the beer itself. We like it. It makes us write about the pleasures of its consumption and the related pleasures of learning about its production and producers.I will reiterate this. I think this discussion is extremely valuable. It can only be advanced through illustration of actual work not as a "gothca!" but as an honest exploration so that I will know what these sort of photos actually mean.
- Second, I also assume that the conviviality and generosity of beer and beer folk must overlap into the description of any beer experience. This may include the free dinner I am getting tonight care of Southern Tier and its importer and the odd brewer tour whether at the level of me showing up in the mini-van at Jolly Pumpkin and getting an hour of Ron's time as well as Lew going to see the hop fields. Beer and brewers are generous to those that love the product and production. That is also part of the joy of beer, the fifth voice in the quartette as it were. [In undergrad we even spoke of "beer money" - money borrowed to buy beer should only be repaid if the first lender later needed beer himself.]
- Third, I don't think integrity is automatically compromised by the presence of either the intoxication or conviviality of beer, brewing and brewers. We have to remember that all beer writers have an entre into the world of beer and that is the the mutual benefit of the writer, the brewer as well as the reader/consumer. Michael Jackson's reference to his mere access to Girardin or his familiarity and friendships with monkish brewers (things I will never experience, I am sure) were of more benefit to him and created value in the strengthening of his reputation as a free airflight.
- Fourth, I think any code of conduct must take the points above to heart and adapt them to the various levels of beer writing which, at one apex of the craft, may include that sort of sterile business reporting I likely have litle use for (and which we often learn is actually absent from much general business journalism).