Local newspaper drops ball on State Fair honors for tourism-related businesses

The Union assigned a college intern to write about a major coup for businesses in western Nevada County (in this case, wineries and craft breweries), without enough coaching or attention from management to get the full story. It was a real disservice to the local newpaper’s readership and all the local businesses and workers who were involved.

Last week — while vacationing in Ireland, in fact — this blog published a string of wins for our local wineries in the prestigious State Fair wine tasting competition. It also posted the results on Facebook, including “Peeps.”

Smith Vineyard won a “best of California” honor, as noted, but Avanguardia and Sierra Starr also won “best of region” for some of their wines — a remarkable achievement for Sierra Vintners.

Other local medal winners that were noted included Naggiar, Nevada City Winery and Gray Pine (a string of wins), Szabo, Lucchesi and Montoliva, among others. For its part, Sierra Starr has been on a roll when it comes to wine awards. And its winemaker Jackson Starr was again selected a judge in the State Fair competition, a sign of our region’s prominence. Jackson is a certified sommelier. Solune and Nevada City Winery also have won some other major recent honors. (Even more regional wineries were among the winners, though The Union’s circulation area is more limited within our region as a “community newspaper.”).

If all the wine honors weren’t enough, later this week, ‘ol Republic won best of show in the craft beer competition, but Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. also won first place for its IPA beer. This blog also reported these wins (along with Knee Deep in Auburn) and posted the results on Facebook. Again, it was an incredible achievement for the small town of Nevada City, where ol’ Republic and Three Forks are located.

The Union got around to writing about a few of the honors at the end of this week, but it left out mention of Avanguardia, Sierra Starr, Naggiar, Nevada City Winery, Montoliva, Szabo, Gray Pine, Lucchesi, and Three Forks brewery, among others. It also could have linked to the full list of winners as a URL — but dropped the ball on that as well.

And The Union’s article is behind a “paywall.”

Instititional knowledge, experience and hustle is important when it comes to journalism. The Union’s ongoing “revolving door” of journalists is an ongoing disservice to its readers. I do not blame the intern; I blame the management. The news reporting in The Union often shows up as an afterthought — with a subscription fee. It is podunk.

Instead of dedicating his weekly columns to poking at local bloggers, the new publisher ought to be rolling up his sleeves and teaching some journalism basics to the staff and newsroom managers.

BTW, Don’s former job as publisher of the Vail Daily is posted online at parent Swift Communications. Among the qualifications: A college degree is preferred but not required.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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