Blogger malfeasance: a unique solution?

Above: The cinnamon roll this morning at a favorite Sunday morning Austin breakfast joint, the Kerbey Lane Cafe.

One of the more appalling bits of information to emerge from the Alfonso and Jeremy wine bloggers seminar at the Texas Sommelier Conference last Saturday was the fact that food bloggers often try to extort money from restaurants and other gastronomic destinations.

According a publicist from the Dallas/Ft. Worth offices of Whole Foods Market and a publicist from Annies Cafe in Austin (who both attended the seminar), there have been numerous instances when bloggers have demanded that they be paid to attend marketing events and/or to review the venues.

Above: The cheese omelette with ham and ranchero sauce at Kerbey’s.

The problem is so widespread and nasty that in Austin a group of food bloggers have created the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (see its code of ethics, including an entry on “negativity”).

Evidently, they ask restaurateurs not to deal with local food bloggers who have not become members of the alliance.

    Any member of the alliance or of the community may contact the membership chair or President to register a violation of the Code of Ethics. The membership committee will investigate the claim and recommend to the board if action should be taken. Members will receive two warnings from the board before revocation of their membership can be considered.

Above: Tracie P says this ham was better than most. Serve with maple syrup.

Also, in a dialectic with my follow-up post to the seminar, Should wine bloggers write about wines they don’t like? (And Tracie P is looking great!), there were a couple of fascinating posts and threads by two different European bloggers.

In Britain, Juel Mahoney of Wine Woman & Song writes about “How to be a blogger as a journalist.”

And Wojciech Bońkowski of the Polish Wine Guide writes about “The $ issue.”

I recommend both posts and threads to you.

I’m not sure I know all the answers and am still working through these issues on my blog.

But I do know one thing for sure: we wine bloggers are here to stay!

Thanks for reading and buona domenica yall…

3 thoughts on “Blogger malfeasance: a unique solution?

  1. Juel’s post “How to be a blogger as a journalist,” was great. She should have taught the class. Maybe next year?

  2. Jeremy, we’re blessed to have an organization like the Austin Food Blogger’s alliance that requires members to behave ethically. It also helps new bloggers understand the boundaries of our hobby/trade. I’m happy to accept samples, as do many bloggers, but the majority of us disclose this information and would never demand product in exchange for a story. I have heard of bloggers requesting reimbursement of expenses for attending events, and I think that is acceptable. Hopefully similar alliances will pop up around the country to support the ethical majority and encourage the rest.

    Cheers to blogging with subjectivity and a thirst for information. Approaching blogging as a hybrid between journalism (gathering facts) and editorial writing (opinion) is our privilege and one that must be protected with integrity.

  3. Thanks for this post, Jeremy. I’m communications chair for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance and just wanted to clear one item up — the Austin Food Blogger Alliance does not ask restaurants not to deal with non-members. The Alliance was created to support the food bloggers and our community, which includes restaurants of course. However, we in no way want to pressure or force anyone to become a member who chooses not to.

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