Why The Mainstream Media Feels The Fear

    December 28, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The denouement of the Wall Street Journal’s anti-blog rant continues as we find a delicious example of how a blogger can perform acts of journalism that at least match those of the media elite.

Why The Mainstream Media Feels The Fear
Why The Mainstream Media Feels The Fear

Resisting a story about gourmet chocolate poses as much difficulty as resisting gourmet chocolate itself. It can’t be done, nor should it be, especially when the premise of the story involves the unraveling of the secret of a highly priced brand, down to its humble origins.

A link from the Boing Boing post about Noka and its astonishingly expensive chocolates led to a compelling exposé of the tasty treats as written not by the likes of Joseph Rago or other mainstream media pharoahs, but a guy named Scott with a taste for the finer chocolates in life.

At his DallasFood.org blog, Scott posted a ten-part series over nine days detailing his adventure into discovering a basic fact about Noka, one that a company founder refused to disclose despite rival chocolatiers eagerly revealing the same information: which couverture they use in crafting chocolates with price markups upward of 1,300 percent.

Scott not only deduced in Holmesian fashion which couverture Noka uses, but made the search for it as engaging a read as one will find online. He provides a photo of Noka’s HQ, a storefront nestled in a Plano, TX, strip mall, and the details of interactions with Noka co-founder Katrina Merrem.

Ultimately, Scott learned that Noka simply remolds and rebrands Bonnat, a high-quality chocolate with 19th Century origins and a price tag substantially under what the credulous pay for Noka:

The Bonnat bar weighs a hair over 3.5 ounces. The combined weight of the three Noka pieces is .23 ounces. The retail price of the Bonnat bar is $7.50. The retail price of the three Noka pieces (from an “Encore” box of 12) is $9.75.

Therefore, the three Noka pieces cost 30% more than the Bonnat bar, but weigh 94% less.

It wasn’t shame about the quality of Bonnat’s chocolate that kept Katrina Merrem from identifying her supplier. It was shame about Noka’s prices.

The ten-part tale combines the kind of digging and storytelling that the mainstream media would like people to think comes to reporters through journalism school graduation and subsequent induction into the Masonic-like mysteries of the old media world.

It doesn’t. Applied knowledge, attention to detail, a desire to dig for information, and a decent command of the written word make all the difference. It’s not the name on a masthead, but the drive of the writer that counts. Go read about chocolate and see.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.