After our recent leak of a certain guide, we came into contact with a number of journalists. Some felt that it was bad form for us to publish what we did and others felt that it was fair game. After all, if some of the journos had been presented with the same leak would they have not done the same? This isn’t to say what we did was right, but some have taken the stance that leaks happen all the time and that the recent events we’ve faced were a touch unreasonable.
The main problem that journalists have against bloggers, is that, as they see it, they have a more rigid system in place before they can publish. Possibly running their work through a legal department may save in the longer term but only hinders when time is against you to be the first to ‘break’ a story. Sure, with hindsight this might have saved us from a few difficult periods but would some other website or forum beaten us to the punch? Probably. There is no doubting that bloggers & their use of social networking sites such as Twitter & FaceBook can break stories quicker and to a very wide audience in moments.
Whilst journalists carry the kudos that bloggers just don’t yet command, they are viewed as very much part of the established route of PR. Any chef or restaurateur would be foolish not to take a call from Matthew Fort (The Guardian), Jay Rayner(The Observer), Marina O’Loughlin (Metro & Olive magazine),William Drew (Restaurant Magazine), Mark Lewis (The Caterer) or Richard Vines (Bloomberg), some of these people have twitter accounts and are in regular contact with chefs trying to play the media game. So why haven’t they thought of doing a blog not unlike this?
One of the most regular accusations leveled at The Chef Hermes Blog is that it must be part of The Caterer or to a lesser extent The Restaurant Magazine. It isn’t, nobody on the team at the blog has ever worked in journalism. Whilst we’ve been extremely grateful that areas of the catering press have picked up our presence on the social networking sites and even given space in their publications to us, they do not write or contribute to the blog. Is this jealousy coming from the professionals? No, probably not, as we receive numerous emails & direct messages about a number of our posts, some from journalists. Richard Vines from Bloomberg even commented on one of our posts;
Great Scoop !.
Our feeling is that the two formats of publishing can co-exist, bloggers will probably never carry the kudos of professional journalists, not even the major bloggers who make a living from doing it (some of the heavy hitters reportedly get 25,000 views per day). In the same vein journalists are hampered by the systems put in place to protect their masters and so will always be in fear of bloggers potentially leaking their story on the social networks. But there is a happy middle ground, interaction between the two sets of writers. Sure we have an overlap of contacts but we, as bloggers, have access to people who journalists just would never speak to.
As always, we invite comments from all corners to the discussion on this subject.