Blog: Olly WehringQuestion a journalist's integrity? Careful, now!

Olly Wehring | 27 May 2009

A most colourful debate has been provoked by an article in the Wall Street Journal this week. The piece looks at the ethics of wine writers accepting invitations from wine trade bodies, using wine-writer extraordinaire Robert Parker's belief that “It is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way” as a barometer.

Two of Parker's colleagues have been rumbled as having accepted press trips, and the piece has provoked claims that this would compromise their impartiality.

I find this a fascinating discussion point – look here to see that I'm not the only one.

Now, it's fair enough to say that just-drinks has had its fair share of invitations to far-off places, so the same accusation could squarely be placed at our door.

Indeed, one recent trip had a competitor of the company that took me away suggesting that I should clearly inform you, dear reader, who it was that was taking me away. We've also had one instance when the firm that entertained us – at great expense, of course – voiced its concern that our subsequent coverage of them was not as positive as they'd hope.

My two penn'orth on the matter? Here it is.

There is no way that I could afford to pay to visit some of the places I've been to in my time at just-drinks. At the same time, if our writing had any kind of slant to it, I'd expect you, dear reader, to vote if not with your vocal disagreement, then certainly with your feet.

I won't insult your intelligence, then, if you won't insult mine.


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