Greetings! I’m psyched to announce that it’s my turn to host The Session, a monthly beer blogging get together founded by Jay R. Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin and Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer.
The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.
It’s time for a session of navel-gazing: I’d like to turn a critical eye on how the media cover the beer industry. And, for a broad definition, I’ll define media as newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, TV, books and radio.
I pitched this Session idea back in December after seeing a fairly steady stream of griping about beer journalism with little productive conversation about it.
There was this Beer Advocate thread titled “Why is ‘beer journalism’ so bad?“. Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Brewery in San Diego, recently wrote of beer journalism in an opinion piece, “In an industry with an almost total absence of real journalism, the cheerleading is virtually indistinguishable from the “reporting.”
And then there’s this, possibly my all-time favorite comment, from a guy named Gregg: “I absolutely hate beer journalism. And I hate beer journalists – subhumans all of them, no matter how well-written their sanctimonious brown-nosing fluff is, beer journalism has almost always been a tepid affair; a moribund endeavor due to its singular objective to flatter and promote, without ever scratching beneath the surface.”
So here’s what I want to know:
What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it?
In the spirit of tipping the hat when someone gets it right, please also share a piece of beer writing or media you love–it doesn’t have to be recent, and it could be an article, podcast, video, book or ebook–and explain a bit about what makes it great. I’ll include links to those articles as well in my roundup for easy access reading.
To help get the words flowing, check out BeerGraphs’ and Hey Brewtiful’s recaps and reflections of the recent Craft Writing Symposium at the University of Kentucky, which featured Garrett Oliver, Jeremy Cowan, The Session’s own Stan Hieronymus, and more.
Want to get involved? Here’s how you can participate in The Session:
1. Write a blog and post it on or by Friday, April 4.
2. Leave a comment here with a link to your post.
3. Check back on Monday, April 7 for a roundup of all the blog posts.
I’ll leave off with this inspirational Garrett Oliver quote from the symposium.
Brewing is hard; writing is really, really, really hard.
Cheers, and happy writing!