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Learning about the unique area of wine journalism and how it differs from lifestyle reporting

There may be few other areas of journalism which involve quite as many fun wine and food events, but wine journalism requires a specialist subject knowledge and an authoritative writing style, students―and some staff—learnt in a recent seminar at the JMSC.

Twenty five Bachelor (BJ) and Master (MJ) of Journalism students attended a wine journalism talk and tasting session hosted by the drinks business Hong Kong on 8 February.

Publisher Ivy Ng, News Editor Lucy Jenkins, and Online Editor Natalie Wang spoke at the seminar held in Eliot Hall’s Shum Reading Room.

Lucy Jenkins, News Editor, the drinks business Hong Kong, speaking at the seminar

“As a career, I feel it’s one of the most interesting and diverse specialisms of journalism out there,” said Lucy Jenkins, who has previous experience covering the food and beverage, interior design and hospitality industries.

“Wine journalism is certainly unique as you chat to winemakers about their passion and hobbies and turn it into a readable story for an already engaged audience,” Jenkins said.

“As with any area of specialist writing, you’ll be read by enthusiasts and professionals—sommeliers, wine critics, winemakers—who have worked and studied extremely hard to get where they are and so there’s a big difference in audience from consumer journalism which tends to have a more passive readership who prefer to be guided by the writer.”

Natalie Wang—herself a graduate of the MJ programme from 2012—also emphasised the importance of developing specialist subject knowledge.

“Research and wine knowledge are essential when writing about a very technical and specialised subject like wine,” she said, noting that most readers of the drinks business are wine professionals or connoisseurs.

“You have to be very concise, use succinct paragraphs, and adopt an authoritative writing style,” Wang added.

Students who attended the seminar said that it gave them an insight into a new area of journalism that they didn’t know very much about before.

“I was mostly covering politics and social issues during my previous internships, and so wine journalism is a totally new area for me,” said Eric Cheung, a third year BJ student.

MJ student Ni Bingyi said that she joined the session because she wanted to know more about the day-to-day work of wine journalists and discovered how “wine journalism is like business journalism, only focusing on one industry”.

The talk was followed by a wine tasting session with three red and three white wines, including one of the latter from China.

Eric Cheung said that the session was a great opportunity for the students to try out different types of wine and see which one they liked best.

MJ Carol Huang said that she enjoyed the white wine from China in particular. “It had a rich flavour and lasted for some time in the mouth,” she said.

the drinks business supplements its printed magazines with daily and weekly digital newsletters in both English and Chinese, as well as social media broadcasts.

Visit the drinks business’ website here.

(Feature image: BJ students Martin Choi, Joy Chung and Cassadee Wong during the wine tasting session)