Yarn store reviewing: We report, You decide*

I just received a comment from Steven Lee, who owns Knitting Etc. in Ithaca, NY, which I reviewed below, and I just wanted to make some comments about yarn store reviewing.

In my day job, I work in journalism, and I don’t consider my knitting blog to be journalism at all, but instead, a place to record my knitting projects and to practice this wacky new thing, The Blogging, that all the crazy kids are doing.

That being said, I’ve never mentioned my blog when chatting with yarn store owners. This is primarily because I have a whopping three readers, so it would be ridiculous for me to do so. (“Um, I have a blog? It has three very important readers. None of who knit. So, please, tremble in fear!”) But also, in a weird way, as an outgrowth of regular journalism ethics, where you don’t tell people you’re from the press when writing a review unless you’re going to quote them. That way you can experience a store as a “regular” person, versus as a member of the press.

On the other hand, I do feel bad because I do no reporting for this blog. I only put up my own impressions of a store, and I don’t try to figure out any background info on it, and I think that because of the power of the Internets, this information might take on more power than it should.

Adam Roberts, who runs The Amateur Gourmet, wrote a piece for Serious Eats (which, full disclosure, is my Adam’s [Kuban] new work site) about this for food blogging.

Roberts describes it as “The Power of Food Blogging,” but I also feel anxious about wounding a small business owner, not so much by hurting their feelings, but by making an unfair assesment of their business.

On one hand, I do feel that Knitting Etc. was located in the Mall of Doom, and that was my honest impression. On the other, I was treated nicely there, (and the store was not gloomy or doomy) and I wouldn’t want to discourage readers from going to Knitting Etc. because they read that. It’s hard to run a small business like a yarn store, and I’m grateful that small stores exist.

In short, I hope that blogging encourages people to visit different businesses and share their own opinions, and that people take my blog posts in the spirit that they’re written: as off-the-cuff impressions. Though these posts are not the carefully-researched, well-thought out, copy-edited, and fact-checked articles that I try to write for mainstream media, I try to make them honest and unbiased as possible. I’m proud to be part of the Fourth Estate, and I hope that blogging works as a supplement to the main media, and that blog posts are useful to my readers (hi, three of you!), to me, and to the knitting community at large.

* That is a joke on Fox News, not a hossana of their reporting.

Posted in Uncategorized at February 25th, 2007. Trackback URI: trackback

One Response to “Yarn store reviewing: We report, You decide*”

  1. March 30th, 2007 at 10:40 pm #connie

    I used to go to Cornell and I love Knitting Etc. I think why they’re more frequented than Homespun is that Hickory (the owner) and her husband foster a strong sense of community there – with classes, a nice knitting table that encourages people to stay and hang out, etc. I wish they would carry more 4 ply, fingering weight yarn, but I guess you can’t have it all! Anyway, I had fun reading your Ithaca impressions 🙂