Archives for August 2007
In recent weeks we’ve seen foodblogger Amy recruited to blog for the Condenast owned Epicurious. Freakonomics has migrated lock, stock and blog to the opinion section of the New York Times. Brian Stelter of the TVNewser blog was also recruited by the New York Times. Then, just this week, there are rumours that the Cleveland Plain Dealer is interested in hiring four popular political bloggers. The current trend, if there is one, is about getting experienced bloggers onto newspaper and magazine blogs, but not necessarily into print.
From working with ScooptWords – where we tried to sell blog content to print publications – I quickly realised that most bloggers simply don’t give a shit about selling stories and writing for the press. A tiny proportion cared. A yet smaller proportion of those were up to task. But, what’s happening now is different. Bloggers are being recruited to blog, not to write for print.
Why are newspapers and magazines recruiting bloggers? What’s in it for them? What, in effect, are they buying?
With bucketloadsa lolly being ploughed into digital, most journalists still have little or no experience of blogging. Even fewer have a deep understanding as to why online journalism differs from print. Whereas tonnes of bloggers have that knowledge. It makes sense to recruit experienced bloggers to steer some newspaper blogs. In the long run, it’s probably cheaper too and far more likely to succeed than going to all the expense of training a print journalist, who isn’t really interested and who may or may not ever be any good at it anyway. Plus, most experienced bloggers have a sizable online contact list and some have developed large communities around their blogs. If the community comes with the blogger… what price do you put on that?
Another question, if newspapers want to nurture star bloggers, and they need them, how do you quantify a "star"?
Number of posts? Number of comments? Degree of engagement with commenters? Inbound links? Outbound links? Journalistic skill? Writing style? Consistency? An always-online lifestyle? All are factors and perhaps some more important than others. But I don’t really know exactly what criteria a newspaper would use to gauge the success or otherwise of a particular blogger.
Whenever I’m asked to talk to print publications about starting blogs there’s invariably an assumption that the more senior staff and the ‘celebrity journalists’ will be the ones blogging. To which I always reply,
"Maybe your star blogger isn’t the editor or the ‘sleb columnist. In fact, the chances are your star blogger almost definitely is not either of those people. The first question you have to ask is, who’s interested in writing a blog? Maybe your star blogger is the photocopy boy or the tea girl. Someone who’s passionate about sommit and interested in blogging. That’s who you start with."
While the idea of ‘covering what you do best and linking to the rest’ still applies, with more digital dough floating about, it increasingly makes sense to try and recruit the best too – if you can still afford them that is…
Don recorded our conversation for a radio documentary, which he
recently aired this week. It’s always strange to listen to yourself on
the radio (stranger yet to watch yourself on TV) , but Don did an
excellent job of editing. I tend to talk a lot when it comes to
Vietnamese food and cooking. Listen here.
Well… not a whole one. At least not in one sitting. Chez Alain is one of two ‘boucherie chevaline’, or horse meat butchers, on Victor Hugo market in Toulouse. Alain sells every edible slice, chunk and and morsel of equine meat. Hav eyou ever seen horse tongue? It’s rather large. And then there’s the heart. Not to menton the much sought after horse fat. Alors, I’m in one is fun mode what with noodlegirl and the toad heading south to Andorra and I purchase just three horse merguez sausages.
Here they are. A little darker than your bog standard merguez. Don’t look too threatening either.
Although horsemeat is generally pretty pricey these three stubs cost just €1.48. I chose the grill option, served with salad and Colman’s. And they were rather good too. Stronger than your average merguez and not dissimilar to venison. For the ‘live’ verdict you’ll need to check out my twitter – I live twitter pretty much everything I eat these days and the rest of my food thoughts end up on Word of Mouth.
Admittedly I thought this was a joke when a friend emailed it to me a couple of days ago, but then I saw it on the newswires,
Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned
from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The
ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority
over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.
so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is
illegal and invalid," according to the order, which comes into effect
on September 1.
The 14-part regulation issued by the State
Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence
of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the
re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing. More here and here.
And I don’t understand a word.
Toulouse is littered with kebab shops. And we’re not talking just one on every street, it’s more like three or four. For kebabcrackheads this is, of course, no bad thing. But, it’s hit and miss in this game, I’m tellin’ ya’. I’ve been wanting to blog the kebab scene ever since I first moved here, but it just didn’t work out – until ce soir. I dropped into the imaginatively named Kebab Cafe on Boulevard du Strasbourg and ordered a straight-no-chaser-no-fries Doner Kebab, heavy on the sauce and easy on the greenstuff. Here’s what I got.
Tightly wrapped number. Not like the stodged out lardfest you’ll find curdling the arteries of Scotland’s infirmaries from Dumfries to Durness. No, this is a North African kebab with French influences. Here we go easy on excess and big on flavour. A warm, fresh out of the oven light-in-the-loaf-loaf conceals conjealed kebab sheepmeat – best not ask – and scattered hedgerow sprayed with a piquant hot sauce.
Inside it may look much like your Glaswegian pavement menace, but it ain’t trust me. It’s flavourpacked, even light. Weightwatchers may even approve. It’s a meaty hit and one I highly recommend. I’ll no doubt be hitting more kebabs, but of the five or six I’ve tried this past year, this is the only one I’ve thought was worth blogging. As they say… go figure… And PS. whatever you find in a French kebabery, I guarantee you will not be finding any of this British nonsense going on.
In Breaking News: Blinkin nora… Delia ‘the grunt’ Smith does a kebab… hmmmm???? ‘Tis below, take it away or leave it…
…The Observer Food Monthly blog about food blog memes, last suppers and all that. I received a tweet on my Twitter from a podcaster… OK… let me rephrase that… This bloke I know suggested I take a look at this website. It led me to a blog called Dead man eating and it all tied in with a ‘chef’s last suppers’ piece in the magazine. That’s how the post came about. I’m trying to work out a way I can pull all the stuff I’m doing over there into this blog automatically, so I don’t feel the need to link to it all the time.
I’m always on the look out for the quirky and topical within the foodblogosphere with a view to talk about it on The Observer – drop me a line, comment or whatever if you see anything that you think I might be interested in. I do read all the comments on the OFM blog, even – or especially – when they head towards 200 or so. So you WON’T be ignored 🙂