Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal claims it was right on Parker, but corrects story anyway

I got an extraordinary email from the Wall Street Journal this morning regarding the story Lettie Teague broke about Robert Parker selling the Wine Advocate. I've never received an email like this from a news publication.

I'm going to just post the email below, as well as I can reproduce it. As far as I can tell, my headline sums up what the Journal is saying: We were right, yet now the story is different.

Newspapers correct stories all the time. But for a paper to reach out to another journalist and send an email like this, it's extraordinary. I've never heard of it. I'm flattered that I'm important enough to receive it; thanks. But why? Why not just correct it in the Journal? Afraid of a lawsuit, maybe? Want more publicity for the Journal (which I'm giving, right now)? It's such an extraordinary communication that I decided to publish two blog items in one day so I can get it out there right away. What the hell, the world didn't end yesterday, so it's a red-letter day.

If I knew the truth of the Parker story, and the Journal's revision, I would tell you. We may never know the whole story. But we do know now not to trust what we've already read, including this latest version.

Ashley Swadel Huston
  • Hi Blake -

    Today's Wall Street Journal includes a new story from Lettie Teague regarding the Wine Advocate, linked and copied below.

    Regarding WSJ's article on Monday, "Big Shake-Up at Robert Parker's Wine Advocate" - Our original article was accurate, and today's piece reflects the latest statements from the Wine Advocate.

    Ashley Huston
    Vice President, Corporate Communications
    Dow Jones & Co. - The Wall Street Journal
    (212) 416-2025
     [email deleted out of common courtesy]

    Wine Advocate Will Stay Put, and in Print

    Robert M. Parker Jr., the influential editor of the Wine Advocate, now says the headquarters of the 34-year-old newsletter will remain in Maryland and that it will continue to publish a print edition.

    In a weekend interview with The Wall Street Journal that was published in Monday's editions, Mr. Parker had said he intended to phase out the print version of the newsletter, moving to an online-only format, possibly before the end of 2013, and that the Wine Advocate's headquarters would be moving to Singapore.

    He also had disclosed plans to step down as editor in chief and sell a "substantial interest" in the newsletter to a trio of Singapore-based investors. Those plans appear to be continuing unchanged.

    Mr. Parker and the Wine Advocate have a loyal following, with about 50,000 subscribers paying $75 for six issues a year.

    Some subscribers raised an outcry on the newsletter's online bulletin board after the Journal published its article on the interview Monday, and Mr. Parker said the Wine Advocate would continue to appear in print. On Monday morning he tweeted that he had "no plans to eliminate the print edition."

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Parker said in an email Wednesday that "while things could always change down the road," the print edition will stay in place.

    The spokeswoman also said the newsletter's Singapore office will be "a second office," from which its investors and Singapore-based correspondent Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the new editor in chief, "will be handling various business and editorial operations."

    The spokeswoman also said in Wednesday's email that the Wine Advocate's headquarters will remain in Monkton, Md.

    The spokeswoman added that the owners "will never run ads in hard copy or the PDF editions of the Wine Advocate, but are looking into the idea of nonwine-related advertisement on the bulletin board and portions of," Mr. Parker's website.

    Ms. Perrotti-Brown had said in an email to the Journal over the weekend that the owners would "eventually allow advertising" in the Wine Advocate from upscale sponsors such as credit cards or watch companies.

    Wine Advocate editor Robert M. Parker Jr. now says the newsletter's headquarters will stay in Maryland and that it will keep its print edition. He had previously said it would phase out print and shift its base to Singapore.


Jack Everitt said...

Ist thist anuther Pahker Gate?

In other news, apparently the nation's wine writers are all out of things to write about except changes at other wine publications.

Where is Google Filter?!

W. Blake Gray said...

Jack: It's true that the blogosphere has jumped all over the Parker story, but it's a big deal. What are the bigger wine stories of 2012?

Think about how much was written about each of the top 10 political stories, or top 10 baseball stories. My God man, think about how much has been and is still being written about the AL MVP race. I'd certainly rather read more about the Parker deal than that.

Unknown said...

Very strange, Blake. Here's some wild speculation: The WSJ asked Parker what it would take to keep him from suing them and he responded, "Send a correction to every blogger who commented on the story."

It seems the the WSJ is simply saying, "We reported what they told us the first time and now they have changed their story and we are passing along the new story. Don't Parker stories always change?

W. Blake Gray said...

Kent: That thought occurred to me, but I sent up a Twitter flair to see if anybody else got this email, and nobody responded.

Hours after getting the email, I'm still perplexed.

rapopoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rapopoda said...

News Corp baby! Be careful, they may be planning to hack your voicemail

John M. Kelly said...

The biggest wine story of 2012 might be the difficult vintage in Europe (huge dent in supply, quality concerns, link to climate change, etc.)

The most banal wine story of 2012 (and 2011, 2010, etc. and probably 2013, ad infinitum) is that the wine media is one small echo chamber.

Hello! Ello! Llo! Lo! lo! o! o!

W. Blake Gray said...

John: Let me get this straight: You're saying that a difficult vintage in Europe is big news?

I thought you'd been in the wine industry a while.