Didn’t Like the Salon Idea? Have a Glass of Pinot Noir

By: Harry Jaffe

Having taken a beating for trying to set up evening salons where reporters could mingle with corporate types who’d pay big money for the privilege, the Washington Post now is attempting a more benign way to raise revenue: wine tastings—with reporters as guests.
    
This week’s event is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 8:30 PM at the Post’s downtown DC headquarters.
    
The failed salon plan would have brought reporters together with politicians and businessmen for “off-the-record” chats, sponsored by corporations for as much as $25,000 a pop. This time the main event is the tasting of the wine; reporters are invited as an added attraction for the event, which is open to TastePost members.

The e-mail invite to Post staffers from Jennifer Keegan, advertising relations manager, reads: “This event, sponsored by Safeway, will feature dozens of premium wines, cheeses, and artisan bakery items.”
    
TastePost is an “online community” created by the Post in January. Charter members pay $20 a year. Among the benefits, members “will be invited to an array of local food and drink events, including TastePost Grand Tastings at The Washington Post.”
    
Post staffers do not have to be TastePost members to attend, but they do have to pay at the door. “Admission is normally $15 for TastePost members,” Keegan writes, “but as an employee you can get the reduced admission price of just $10.”
    
No word on the ground rules for reporters and corporate sponsors.

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