Gosh. I receive many irritating, derisible or just silly press releases (as well as some well-written and usefully informative ones), but I usually manage to understand what they’re getting at. Which isn’t entirely true of the one I’ve just had from Wine magazine announcing the new publisher-editor of the magazine, Cathryn Henderson.
The appointment is, I’m sure, a brilliant one and anyway a great relief to Christian Eedes, who can now get down to more of what he does very well – writing about wine. It’s the language used by the new editor that is puzzling. Or am I just thick, or just ignorant of a widely understood magazine-business-speak? This is the paragraph that defeated me:
‘The combined role of publisher/editor was created to give both strategic and hands-on direction to the WINE brand, while allowing the WINE team to maximise their specialist skill areas. “This will enable us to continue our initiatives of developing a full 360-degree product offering, in line with RamsayMedia’s strategy to grow the digital platforms in the stable.” Cathryn commented.’
OK, I can sort of understand what “strategic and hands-on direction” means, and I know that just about everything is considered to be a “brand” these days, and I can accept that a “skill area” might just be different from a “skill”; and I’m sure the paragraph’s second-last fullstop is merely a typo and should be a comma (does good branding include proofreading press releases?). But as to the actual meaning of what Cathryn is quoted as saying – sorry, commenting – I am at a loss. I must presume that there’s a connection between the two halves of her sentence, but as I can’t work out what either half signifies, I’m not even convinced of that. With hope in my heart I tried twisting the whole thing to mean that Cathryn is determined that the Wine mag tasting results will stop being the laughing stock of the industry (I defy anyone to find half-a-dozen producers, perhaps apart from current winners, who have any respect for them), but I simply couldn’t manage it.
I’m sure it all means something profoundly important that I want to know about, and if anyone can disentangle the jargon and the mixed metaphors and translate it into English for me, I’d be grateful. (Is a “digital platform” a website, perhaps? No, surely nothing as simple as that. It’s the sort of platform that one might find “growing” in a “stable”; one with, moreover, a view in all directions – presuming that the 360 degrees mentioned don’t relate to temperature.) I really do hope that this is not a foretaste of a new communication strategy at Wine – though, on second thoughts, maybe some obfuscation of those tasting results might forward the strategic interests of the brand.