Monday, January 24, 2011

ARTICLE: The Overt World of Boring Journalists

Last time it was Food Bloggers (TM) vs Chefs. This time it's Food Bloggers (TM) vs (gasp) Food Writers. And, once again, modern day journalism has missed the point. Completely.

I haven't been able to find the link to the original article in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, but check out Grab Your Fork for the article and ensuing discussion.

When will your get the idea, modern day journalism? Will it be Wednesday? Will Wednesday be when you get the idea?

Truth be told, everyone has missed the point. Except a few people, but I'm rounding down here for the point of effect.

Here is a dot point summary of the article to save you having to read the Daily Telegraph:
- Food blogging IS EVERYWHERE RECENTLY (even in your child's cupboard!)!
- Just because you like food DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD DO THAT OUT LOUD!
- Food bloggers aren't critical like, well, food critics.
- Gourmet Traveller's Pat Nourse: I like Lemonpi's blog (really only because she is an actual chef so it's a moot point).
- Grab Your Fork's Helen Yee: Blogs are good because blogs are a different source of information and they aren't trying to be hardcore food writers.
- Discussion on PR companies using food bloggers, which is a one-sided comment that food bloggers (TM) are greedy for free food and untalented BUT WE USE THEM ANYWAY.
- Great point from Fooderati's Melissa Leong: "It broadens the spectrum of what we consider news and communication".
- A restaurant critic that receives free food criticising a food blogger that receives free food because FOOD BLOGGERS ARE SHITHOUSE AT WRITING.
- Bunch of semi-jaded, quasi conclusions from said critic that (conveniently) echo the tone and point of the article that probably weren't intended by said critic to be used as the conclusion but the author of the article felt it fitting to put said words there.

And it was only a short article. Amazing how they can cover so many different topics in depth! (<---Sarcasm. They cannot.)

This all goes back to a shitty article I wrote a couple of months ago about how food writing is dying because (paraphrasing) 1) the information landscape has changed and people access news and information differently than before (ie through newspapers) and 2) food writing (from a professional and amateur standpoint) is in a really really big hole and good writing isn't a) happening at the moment and b) possible.

So let's look at the article. Take out the noise and you have the following point:
1. Food bloggers don't have the same traits as food critics. Namely: criticism and ability.

This is entirely the wrong article to be writing. As I discussed in my last piece of words, the argument isn't about the validity of food blogging (TM) at all. It's here. It's here for the foreseeable future, totally regardless of how many free dinners you give it.

I would have been satisfied to just rest on Leong's point that "[Food Blogging TM]... (ed: I just used an ellipses, suck it critics) broadens the spectrum of what we consider news and communication,"--because she totally gets it there--but she weakened her stance (at least in my opinion) with "you certainly look at some people's offerings out there and you think, 'Ooh, why did they think blogging was a good idea?'" That kind of ruined everything (just look at Tunisia!).

They don't care if it's a good idea. It's the internet. Most things are bad ideas on the internet. The internet itself was a good idea. Everything since then has been questionable.

Let me restate my argument from before: food bloggers are not food critics and that is not the purpose of food blogging as a medium. Some may be great writers, some may be terrible, but it's beside the point. Food blogging is about everyone in the world with an internet connection having a change to voice their opinion.

Hell, it's not even limited to food blogging.

I also have a blog where I (attempt to) write comedy. Because I didn't study comedy in any form, do I have no legitimacy, in the same way that a food blogger has no legitimacy to write about food? Do I have any authority to share my opinion of what's funny? When I started doing stand-up, did I suddenly get credibility to discuss comedy? Was it straight away, or was it after a set period of time? Or do only people that have gone to uni to get a journalism degree have the credibility to discuss what is and is not funny?

My point is (too obvious and insulting to your reader's intelligence) that it doesn't matter. Blogging (forget about food for a second, I know it's hard) had nothing to do with having any authority. It's about a stream of words from people. Some of it has meaning and value, most of it doesn't. But the internet isn't about taking in every piece of information; the internet is about sorting through the clusterfuck and finding what YOU, THE INTERNET USER wants to read. Integrity doesn't play a part in the process. If a blog post reviewing a restaurant isn't critical enough, then find one that is sufficiently critical.

If I angled my site as a competitor/peer to food critics and fronted like I was a legitimate "food writer" then, yes, I have every right to be judged against that journalistic standard. But the reality is that the clear majority of food blogging isn't about that. It's about that internet ideal of sharing parts of your life and hoping that someone (somewhere) else finds it interesting, in a sort of new-millennial dance of validation and interaction.

And if everyone could thinking of blogging as JUST THAT, then that would be... well... just swell... and maybe... just maybe... writers for media outlets could write about something that was actually interesting and relevant for a change.

1 comment:

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

lol i think your dot point summary of the article just about nailed it!