Monday, February 22, 2010

Rant: Newspapers, Where is My Food & Wine?

It is not news that newspapers are in trouble. Because of such, many newspapers have either eliminated or significantly reduced their coverage of food and wine. Some food and wine columnists, even long term ones, have been let go. It is saddening news, and I yearn for more coverage of such matters. Newspapers, why have you forsaken me?

Does it really help newspapers to omit or limit such coverage? Though they might save space, I am not sure the benefit is outweighed by the negatives. I would think it reduces some of their readership, alienating some of those who enjoy food and wine. Plus, as so many newspapers have reduced coverage, it presents an excellent opportunity for a newspaper to capitalize, and actually increase their coverage, attracting the dissatisfied. As so many newspapers have gone online, they could also just place additional food and wine articles online, even if not in the actual print.

Local newspapers sometimes have a food and wine column, though they often pay little or nothing to the writer. Yet the columns seem to be quite popular. That certainly makes it more difficult to attract and keep writers. Why so little respect for such writers?

Is it any wonder then at the proliferation of food and wine blogs? There are so many people who wish to write about such matters, as well as many people who want to read those articles and posts. Such substantial readership should indicate to newspapers that a demand exists. So why cut their own coverage and lose those potential readers?

Some things don't make sense.

1 comment:

Jill from North Shore Dish said...

I think newspapers have a dilemma when it comes to covering food. In community newspapers, restaurant reviews tend to be lame. They are not well written and have no pictures or recipes. You do a great with your column, but 99% of the others I see are just not good. To do them right, they need to have better writers, get some photos, and maybe get a recipe or two from the chef of the restaurant. They also need to do some reviews of places they don't like, which I rarely see. But I suspect doing a better job with the food column is tricky. You have to spend more money and give more space to a topic not everyone is interested in. Those who are interested are very interested, but that's not everyone. While everyone is interested in politics and news that affects their town, not everyone is into food. Now that we have blogs to depend on more and more, I suspect we will see less and less food coverage in newspapers. I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's my prediction.