Sunday, December 8, 2013
Lexington Herald-Leader's Janet Patton Commands The Bourbon Beat
Don't count the so-called 'old media' out just yet.
With coverage of the American whiskey industry seeming to come more and more from specialized blogs and related 'new media' sources, it would be easy to write off the newspapers and other 'old media' that might have written about it in the past.
Not so fast.
About a year ago, the daily newspaper for Lexington, Kentucky, the Herald-Leader, decided to get serious about its coverage of all things related to the burgeoning whiskey industry, especially as it applies to Kentucky. They assigned an experienced journalist, Janet Patton, and gave her the necessary time and resources to do the job right. The result has been a series of articles unsurpassed by any other outlet for their scope, relevance, and accuracy.
The media in Kentucky has always covered whiskey as a business story and occasionally from the human interest angle. Patton and her editors have gone much further. What's more, they are treating it as a subject deserving of serious examination. Patton is willing to take on difficult subjects and ask tough questions. Her readers benefit, of course, but so does the industry, when everyone is better informed. As she herself has learned more about the industry, it has become harder for producers to sell her their spin. She'll report what they say, then drill down to get the rest of the story.
If 'The Chuck Cowdery Blog' is on your regular reading list, Patton's articles should be too. Happily, this 'old media' outlet has a good online presence. Her latest story, about non-distiller producers and how they get their whiskey, is here. From there, you can connect to past stories. (Just click on the arrows.) It's worth your effort.
Technically, today's package concludes the paper's four part series, but I don't think Patton and the Herald-Leader are going to stop now. They've taken the high ground. Let's hope they fight to keep it.