Monday, 8 October 2012

Talks & Thoughts at Crave Sydney

As you can probably tell, I'm kind of new to this whole food blogging thing, but also very keen to learn. So when I heard someone mention that there were some talks going on as part of the Crave festival my ears pricked up. And when I found out that there were was a talk on food photography and food writing, I knew I was in. So that's how I spent Saturday, listening to talks about food. It was fantastic. I did feel a bit like the new kid in school but I also felt like it was time well spent, and I picked up a few nuggets of information from the fantastic panels...

The first talk I went to was "Food writing and reading in a multi-media platform world" where the panelists were David Chang, owner and Chef from Momofuku, as well as the owner of Lucky Peach magazine, Colman Andrews, from TheDailyMeal.com and Maria Canabal from Gastronomad magazine. They talked about the changing face of the press, especially food magazines, with the growing usage of the online environment in todays world. This was a bit of a familiar topic for me because of work. We're constantly hearing about the fact that how people consume newspapers and magazines is evolving. There are even rumours that the printed word is dying.

We all know that people read the newspapers on their iPad on their way to work, rather than opening up a massive paper on the train, and that's just the tip of the evolving trends. But from a professional point of view, Maria said that as a journalist, online magazines still don't have the same prestige as printed magazines, both for the journalist and the people the journalists are wanting to interview. Which begs the question, if online media is the future, why wouldn't it hold more weight? Maybe it's because  people still see it as fleeting and dismissible because it's not printed on a piece of paper.

David talked about his relatively new venture Lucky Peach Magazine, a food magazine that is printed, not online. Interestingly, they know most of their readers aren't really foodies. Whether intentional or not, this magazine appeals to a much wider audience, as David said "Why worry about the small sliver of the population that are foodies". The magazine is more expensive than most, probably because there is essentially no advertising in it, which is an intentional decision. As someone who works in advertising, it was interesting to hear the opinion of someone from the magazine point of view, as opposed to the advertiser. His feeling was that if the current model for taking ads was working, there wouldn't be as many magazines going out of business. The feeling around Lucky Peach Magazine is that until they find a model that does work, they won't be taking ads.

Overall though, I think Colman summed it up the best. He's a big defender of magazines, and like TV did to radio, his opinion is that the online written word won't be the death of press, but it will change it forever.

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