Sunday, December 5, 2010

I like my local pub but really... The Quince Poacher bites back

It's been a while since my last entry but I've not not been busy, oh no! There's been recipes cooked, restaurants dined at and cookbooks read, in between finishing off this semester's uni subject and a busy period at work.

During this hiatus I spied this article in M magazine, one of the Sunday Age magazines, announcing their second annual M-ie awards. And the best pub award goes to...Post Office Hotel. How exciting, I thought, it's only around the corner from us.

As I continued to read this article I thought 'This is odd. Didn't I read a review of this hotel week or so ago in The Age's Epicure, which said something about a journalist being married to one of the co-owners'? If you can't be bothered clicking through and reading the whole article, let me draw your attention to the disclaimer at the bottom of it:

A co-owner of the Post Office Hotel is married to an Age journalist

Don't get me wrong. I like the revitalised Post Office Hotel. I enjoy having a pub within a five minute walk from my home that serves great food and drinks, has a fantastic atmosphere and attentive staff, and is welcoming (in a very authentic way, not just of an 'alternative' crowd) of a diverse group of people. It's much more preferable to what it was before - a faded, once bright yellow blob on the corner of Reynard and Sydney Roads, Coburg's own version of 'The Vault' (aka 'the yellow peril) that many women were afraid to go into, where you could only buy three types of beer, VB, Melbourne or Fosters, from the bottle shop and you were served by barmen with prison tatts.

In the scale of things the M-ie awards mean very, very little. But this example of working editorial connections annoys me. It's journalism that is condescending towards its readership. It does credit to neither the venue, by not allowing it to rise or fall on its own merits and diminishes the reputation of the fourth estate, which is already precarious in the post-print media world.

Update 16 Feb 2011 - I stand admonished. The Age journalist has contacted me to set the record straight and clarify that no undue editorial influence has been exercised in relation to The Age articles in which the Post Office Hotel features. However, I stand by my decision to have a healthy scepticism about things that I read.

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