The Future of Food Journalism....?

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Joined Jun 16, 2006
Sounds like first you need to start Twittering and Face Booking. Are you Twittering and Face Booking, Mezz? That gets you started on the road to famous.

Kevin
 
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In all due respect, Kevin, it ain't about fame. Those who want fame write for free---which pretty much typifies most of the internet. As I teach my students:

Authors desire recognition.
Writers desire to be paid.

Mezz: Check out her website before getting all green-eyed. She isn't making all that money from writing; but from other revenue sources. Granted, the blog is what stimulates those other streams.
 
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To me, the problems of on-line food journalism were summed up here:

Fauchald noted that the Atlantic.com, one of--if not--the most renowned food websites, doesn't pay its writers because they each have their own agenda or brand to sell.

The fact is, most of the on-line food writing is either ego-driven (personal blogs), or driven by vested interests masquerading as objective journalism.

This is by no means unique to culinary subjects. But that is the topic at hand.
 
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My question about signing up was facetious- and no, I don't Twitter! I do have a Facebook page, though. Blobs are something I read only occasionally.

With the financial failure of "Gourmet", who's next? I subscribe only to Cook's Illustrated (the paper version, not the online version). I have some old copies of Cooking Light and Bon Appetit, but they're headed to the recycle bin soon. Between this site and a couple of others (one is a travel site), I don't have any trouble finding good recipes.

I can imagine a scenario in which there are very, very few general public food magazines left. I can't get a subscription to any of the professional magazines (Food Arts, for instance), which is a disappointment for me.
 
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The question is, Mezz, was Gourmet'sfailure reflective of a generalized problem (i.e., the internet's impact on print journalism), or did it reflect poor management decisions on the part of the publisher?

Despite the slant Conde Naste's spindoctors tried to put on it, the evidence seems to indicate that competition from the internet was the least important part of the equation. It had it's impact, to be sure. But not as much as they'd like us to believe.

All the woesayers regarding print media put me in mind of Marshal McCluan. You remember him? He's the guy who wrote nine books telling us that books are dead. But guess what? They're still here. And so are culinary magazines.

If you study the issue what you'll find is that the successful print magazines have several things in common: First, they are part of a total communications package, that includes both electronic and print outlets. Second, they have taken the route of trade magazines; that is, their nitches are very tightly drawn. Their appeal is to a smaller, more exact audience, rather than to the broader, more general one.

To put it in perspective, an often expressed fear, in its early growth days, was that TV was going to destroy magazine publishing. In a sense it did, if by magazine you meant the general, mass-audience titles. It's true, they couldn't compete with TV, which delivered the same audience, in unheard of numbers, for less money. So Life, and Look, and the Saturday Evening Post (in it's original format) disappeared. But special interest magazines thrived.

So, don't read too much into the Gourmet folding. Trace, rather, the fortunes of the special-interest cooking publications, and see how they're doing. You might be surprised.
 

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