Monday, May 26, 2014

Rant: Lazy Food Writers

The food media as a whole is generally lazy,” remarked Joshua Ozersky, a food writer for Esquire and others and who is no fan of cupcakes. “There’s very few people in the food media that really have their own tastes and trust their own tastes. Generally most of them are followers. That’s why the food industry is dominated by trends. If you call something a trend, especially if you’re an editor, then it artificially becomes that. . . . There’s a group-think aspect."
--The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue by David Sax

I have to agree that there is a significant portion of food writers who are lazy, choosing to write mostly about current trends rather than spending the time to write something more original. How many times do you really need to read another cupcake or cronut story? Put yourself in the place of the reader and ask yourself if you want to read another cupcake or cronut article. Do you find it exciting to read about the newest place selling their version of cronuts?

When a new trend arrives, many food writers race to write about it, though often their stories are little different from the dozens of other stories out there. They think that is what their readers want to know about, despite the fact those readers have seen similar articles in many other places. I could even understand if the writers found a special and unique angle on these trends, but that is so rarely the case. These food writers take the easy route, penning shallow articles which are eminently forgettable.

This needs to change.

We need to see more food writers taking the time to research more unique stories, to write about matters that few other people are writing about. That applies to other writers as well, such as wine writers. Stop copying the same, tired old story ideas and trends that everyone else is writing about. Dare to be more original, to pioneer a path that few have traveled before. Yes, it will take more time and effort to walk this road, but ultimately it is more fulfilling, and will make your work more memorable.

Rather than write another cupcake story, try penning an article about Peruvian restaurants. Instead of discussing the newest cronut incarnation, consider writing a post about the benefits of eating rabbit. There are tons of food and wine topics out there which are worthy of coverage, and which few writers have addressed. Leave the newest trend for some lazy writer, whose article will be read and forgotten by the next day. Compose something more original which people may read and then remember for some time to come.

Will you step forward and try to become a better writer?


Lisa Johnson said...

I definitely agree with you here, but sometimes it may come down to economics. Maybe the writer doesn't necessarily want to write that same old story, but if that's what the powers that be will pay them for, then they do it. People have to make a living.

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