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The Intersection of Coffee & Journalistic Ethics

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by YankeeFan, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Todd Carmichael owns a a successful, high end coffee roaster called La Colombe Torrefaction. Based in Philadelphia, they own their own cafes in Philly and New York and will soon have one in Chicago. They are also in some top restaurants.


    He also blogs for Esquire's "Eat Like a Man" blog: http://www.esquire.com/archives/blogs/food-for-men/by_author/9759/15;1

    Duane Sorenson owns the successful, high end roaster Stumptown. Based in Portland, with cafes in New York City and Portland, they're beloved by indy coffee geeks.



    Now, it appears that Stumptown has been bought out by a NYC investment firm. (Or received an infusion of cash from them, allowing for growth, depending on who you believe.)

    The interesting part is that Carmichael broke the news in his Esquire blog and has used it along with his twitter account to basically bash Sorenson as a sellout:

    I've got to say, I think it's in bad form to use your Esquire blog to beat up on the competition.

    I also don't think Esquire should allow him to.
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I don't like coffee or ethics.
  3. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I much prefer the intersection of coffee and closers.
  4. Brad Guire

    Brad Guire Member

    I like sweet tea. I hate coffee.
  5. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    From a nuts-and-bolts ethics standpoint, I think Carmichael's in the clear. He clearly identifies himself as a competitor, and his regular readers (how many people stumble upon coffeehouse commerce opinion columns?) know his background right off the bat. Also, it would be hard NOT to write a column on something that is clearly in his wheelhouse.

    Was it bad form to use such hyperbole and tout other roasters including himself? Does he have a motive to promote indie roasters as saviors of the industry? Does he come off as a tool in this column? Yes. Yes. Most certainly yes.

    But because he clearly discloses his own business relationship, it can skate under the ethical line, kind of like allowing the governor to write an "outside perspectives column" in a newspaper. It's just not something you want to do too often.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

  7. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    I love coffee, and I love ethics. YF, you only understand one of them.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I like my coffee with a dash of payola.
  9. Reuben Frank

    Reuben Frank Member

    Completely off topic, but ...

    Todd is also an adventurer who goes on these crazy solo treks that have never before been attempted.

    Among other achievements, he was the first to go solo from Antarctica to the South Polo:


    He's a good dude.
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't like what he did, either. But I am not sure it will bother the Esquire management that whores the mag out to the fashion industry. From my perspective, as someone who likes clothes, it seems like all the editorial fashion content is contrived to please advertisers rather than guide readers to their best value for the money. I enjoy the mag, but I do not assign it the editorial integrity I expect from newspapers. That kind of flows into all their content, in my mind. I do not trust their judgments.
  11. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Be specific or shut up.

    You've had an issue with me since the day you showed up.

    Where have I shown a misunderstanding of ethics?
  12. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    As jlee pointed out, he does make clear who he is.

    And, that's why I just said that I think its in bad taste on his part and that Esquire shouldn't be providing him a platform to criticize a competitor.

    His twitter feed has been obsessive and over the top, but that's his, so while he looks like an ass, there's no conflict at all.
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