Print publishing has rapidly progressed from paper to screen. This change is revolutionary. It is even more momentous and consequential than the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in around 1439.
Today, an event can be “broadcast” contemporaneously, wirelessly, globally by millions on YouTube or Facebook yet, paradoxically, marketers are narrowcasting and desperately seeking ever-thinner slices of the public pie. They must identify micro-niches for their products.
We can see this fracturing of large entities into smaller, more clearly defined units in every aspect of commerce. Huge supermarkets spin off smaller shops selling only fresh foods. Large department stores splinter into small specialty stores within.
Restaurants are specializing in only one cuisine or even a single food: noodles, sushi, pizza or sandwiches, bagels, tacos, doughnuts, ice cream, cupcakes, fried chicken, burgers fries and fizzing brown drinks. A restaurant in Manhattan sells only rice pudding. Another offers only French fries. All are thriving.
TV networks are struggling. They have divided and subdivided into special interest cable channels: nature and weather, houses and gardens, food and fashion, history and mystery, old movies and new religions, sports, crime and politics. Each segment has its leaders and followers.
Doctors and dentists have morphed into micro-specialists as have artists, musicians, theologians, chefs, athletes, financiers and food writers.
Books, magazines, and newspapers take aim at clearly defined demographic markets. Magazine articles are getting shorter. News bytes are merely small nibbles.
Texting is instantaneous. (It is challenging for a writer, any writer, to hold the attention of a reader, who is reading an article while watching television and eating an ice cream on a stick and holding a smart phone, while seated on a loved one’s knee.)
Who Wants to Be a Food Writer?
Therefore, your first task as a writer may be to narrow your options. If you say you would like to be a generalist, you are looking at the vast blue sky through a telescope. It is crucial to narrow your focus of interest by studying your options on the ground. Change your focus by peering through a microscope at one specific sector of the huge food publishing universe.
Make up your mind whether you want to be a newspaper columnist or write for a consumer magazine like Edible Manhattan and Edible San Francisco, Fine Cooking, Saveur or a trade journal, such as Nation’s Restaurant News, Pizza Today, or “Sous Vide Tomorrow“.
Be aware that Wegmans and other large supermarket chains publish food magazines. Medical insurance companies issue magazines for those on special diets. Restaurants and food companies distribute newsletters, as do specialty food retail stores so your options are in fact quite a lot broader than those that may seem most obvious.
Indeed you might have better luck proposing a regular column for a publication that didn’t have a food section until you came along and suggested it.
And remember, no one can stop you from writing your own food blog.