Friday, February 16, 2007

the invisible media

I might have missed it. Admittedly it was a bit of a cursory glance at the on line program for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. I was just wondering – where are all the food bloggers?

The event that caught my eye was “Out of the Frying Pan:A CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF FOOD AND THE MEDIA”.

Now when I think of food, and media for 2006 – I think of food bloggers having the first unrestricted reviews of “Fifteen”, bloggers near and far getting proposals accepted for books and bloggers yet again exerting a fair amount of local knowledge about the food scene. But the festival does not think this form of media is anywhere in the future of food.

I find this curious. After all we are the punters. We are not the insiders from the mainstream media. We are the ones who pay for our meals, have no editorial restrictions and are read in the thousands each day. Bloggers are at the coalface. We actually try out the recipes from the latest hyped cook books (well some of you do), rather than have them displayed prominently and hope osmosis will do the trick. But we remain invisible, according to the festival guide and in a whole day of workshops discussing this theme are no where to be seen.

Are we just too amateur, irrelevant or a threat to be acknowledged in the festival of all things food?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Ed said...

Good points. I suspect the reality is lots of people are ignorant ofhow to search the internet properly and find it difficult to find blogs. They are simply ignorant of what is happening on blogs and are mostly entrenched in old media. What shocked me is not only that blogs are missing but t he internet in general. There may be something small in the Oz tomorrow on blogs

11:32 am  
Anonymous kitchen hand said...

The festival is probably just not quite with it yet.

When blogging started to get really big in 2002, many newspapers ran op-ed columns looking down their noses at the phenomenon.

Now The Australian, for example, shows 'Blogs' ahead of 'Letters' and 'Cartoons' under the opinion tab.

11:53 am  
Blogger GoAwayPlease said...

ed is correct in saying "lots of people are ignorant" and this group may contain uni graduate journalists ... and their Editors.

11:57 am  
Anonymous Duncan said...

The festival blurb ignored blogs, but the event itself (Out of the Frying Pan) did not. There were numerous (mostly very enthusiastic) mentions of blogs and their use and potential at today's event. More noticeable than the traditional-media blurb that you describe was the seeming complete absence of bloggers from the event. Maybe there was someone lurking, but they didn't raise their voice:(

8:45 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Duncan - thanks for the update. I wonder if blogs were an after thought. If they had genuinely wanted to encourage the involvement of bloggers I think they would have either promoted it on the literature or made direct contact with the blogging community.

I bet they mention it next year!

7:57 am  
Anonymous matt preston said...

Dear COAFN,

I've posted this on Ed's site but felt it was worth sending it to you as well.

"Been reading the comments on Tomato and Food Nazi with interest regarding the MF&WF "Frying Pan" event.

The final session of the day actually was devoted to the growing clash between traditional media and the new emerging sources for food information be they blogs, mobile access, IPTV and the commercialization of the blogging genre.

We would have loved to have had a blogger on that panel and actually invited (via email)Ed to join it. Sadly he didn't take up the offer.

I know that the audience contained at least a couple of bloggers (and judging by the subsequent posts a few others as well) - and obviously all sessions were open to comments from the floor.

The eventual line-up included the likes of Helen Razer and Mike Van Niekirk who both have a fair amount of online experience. Van Niekirk's claim that commercial TV would be dead in five years was one of the more interesting statements of the session.

As Duncan notes there were numerous mentions of blogging and its potential across the sessions and we'd love to do more next year - either within Frying Pan with a dedicated session... or as part of the general festival. We take an inclusive attitude to interesting well-run events so happy to chat about ideas for events you all might want to run as part of the Festival.

I also should name-check Jason Wright at this point. Jason is the NYC based web-designer who co-presented with Will Goldfarb at MasterClass. The session explored their adventures in cyberspace and the latest generation of their virtual restaurant. We reckon it's the first time an international chef guest has bought at web designer, rather than a sous chef, to help him! I suspect it will not be the last!

We are also keen to keep all those bloggers who are interested updated with Festival announcements. This was the first year that we started to compile a dedicated media list of online media and we'd love that to grow. If any one wants to email us so we can add them to out media database that would be great. Send your details (name, blog title, email address and mobile) to the Festival at ann@foodfest.com.au.

I'd appreciate if you could circulate this request around those bloggers that you know.

All the best,

Matt

12:01 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Matt, thanks for visiting. I'm glad you know we are here.

The feedback from the day, and to some extent your comment, suggests to me that you don't quite get bloggers yet. We are different to journalists who have an online presense. There is a freedom to be non-alligned to traditional media, there is a different tone - and heck, sometimes it's ok to muck up grammar and spelling. The content is varied. Some blogs are dedicated to reviewing (we are the word on the street, we are not experts, we will never be recognised), specialised cooking but most are eclectic.

I'm glad you are open to us helping you explore our world in future. Pity it was too late for this year.

11:46 am  
Blogger Ed said...

I pretty much agree with that and as I mentione on my blog definately didn't receive the email so wasn't in the position to accept or reject any offer.

1:01 pm  

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