About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010
Moving On
'...But Australian food bloggers – fewer in number and, with rare exceptions, short on talent – have been less successful at extending themselves.'

Stephanie Wood, comparing Australian food bloggers to those from the USA.

Just what is eating at some Australian food journalists and why are they behaving like Mercader with an ice-axe, bashing in blogger heads at every opportunity?

You'd think that after so many years the relationship between us would have matured, that they might actually have found something to like in our work, because clearly, others have.

Going on with the same old tired talentless line is becoming increasingly boring and doesn't really stand up all that well, especially when the probing searchlight of accuracy casts itself upon some of their articles, causing damning shadows to appear.

A blogger gets it wrong, believe me, we soon know about it: A journalist for a newspaper food section gets it wrong, on go the sunglasses and they pretend like it never happened.

Ever noticed the rise in bread shop signs promoting yeast free sourdough bread? There weren't any signs like that, until an influential food section published a piece a couple of years ago, claiming that a certain well known sourdough loaf contained no yeast.

All sourdough bread contains yeast, that's what makes it rise, in this case it's wild yeasts, no commercial yeast is added in.

They privately conceded they were wrong at the time, a correction would have been in order, given that many people, for a variety of reasons, follow a yeast free diet. It took them three months to do it, disingenuously put as a reader's question - yes, you got that, as a reader's question.

That behaviour would never be tolerated in the news section of the same paper, why do food journalists get away with it? Then to criticize bloggers with their hands on their hearts beggars belief.

It's not all doom and gloom however. Late last year at a function, I had a conversation with a couple of food journalists from a leading Australian newspaper. There are also local bloggers forging their own relationships with journalists. A few years ago, that may not have happened.

Happily, some folk have moved on.
  posted at 10:26 am

At 3:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously Neil-she is living in the past. I used to read that blog a while back but it just had all the usual motifs on the sidebar-you know, the usual suspects that are used to give the impression that this blogger has some gravitas-whatever!
These days I notice that the posts are becoming fewer & fewer with one post that made me laugh out loud 'whats it all for' it bleeted!
On another issue I'm really tired of my site being trawled for news & info which finds its way into the manistream press uncredited.

At 6:53 pm, Blogger Ange said...

As a blogger I really only write for myself, I dont claim to be a talented writer or photographer for that matter, if people choose to read what I write & gain any enjoyment or knowledge from it then good for them, if not that I am fine with that also. Will some people ever stop criticizing & just let us be, each for our own reasons?

At 7:16 pm, Anonymous Duncan | syrupandtang said...

Good on you Neil. At first I thought Ms Wood's tiresome snobbery had to do with her role as a Fairfax editor, as her dull blog seemed very much about focusing on other members of the print press plus stars of the non-Australian blogosphere. But for her to be pushing the same ignorant barrow two years after demonstrating her ignorance to a live audience in Melbourne indicates an issue of ego rather than profession.

At 11:08 pm, Blogger Anh said...

The fact that I tend to read food blog (local and not) to get my food knowledge. Is that telling you something?

At 9:56 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi steve, dead right, her attitude is very 2008 and I'm kind of wondering if she hasn't noticed that all the American bloggers she's praising are SUPPORTED by the press and television for that matter. A little bit of tending her own backyard would go a very long way.

It sucks that you're being ripped off like that, bizarre when you think how talentless we are. Then again, makes you wonder if the rise of food bloggers had anything to do with the fall of Gourmet magazine?

Hi ange, I write for exactly those reasons, whomever else likes it can come along for the journey. The difference is, we write for pleasure, they write to get paid. Perhaps some journalists are jealous of our freedom.

Hi duncan, good point, and wouldn't it be nice if Stephanie was batting on our side? You'd think by now that the old barrow had become too heavy to hold onto.

Hi anh, it sure speaks to me. Wonder if there's a bit of King Canute in this somewhere?

At 10:09 pm, Blogger Joanie said...

Americans are really too proud of themselves in so many ways. Now I understand why most Aussies hate them. And made me appreciate why I like Aussies more!!! thou I am not saying I hate Americans.

regards Neil :)

At 10:56 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi joanie, wow, you just made my head spin, nice wriggle at the end. No, we don't hate them, they're just crap at cricket.

At 3:31 pm, Blogger GS said...

I've been putting together some thoughts about what to say at eat.drink.blog this weekend - having read The Walkley Mag piece and revisited the Out of the Frying Pan debacle back in '08 - it was lovely to come across your post....between you and the commenters saying pretty much everything I've been thinking of. I was stunned that her stance hadn't progressed at all in the past 2 years, just seems more entrenched. But the real clanger was at the end of the piece when she implied that if she can't make money from blogging then no one can. Rather lacking insight considering that blog has lain fallow for much of the last couple of years.

I think Stephanie is rather missing the point about blogging. While admittedly some do use it as a vehicle to publishing books, there are so many other reasons why we blog - cooks journal, community, sharing information...

It must be weird observing an amazingly vibrant local community from up on high and feeling you are too important to be apart of it.

Her loss.

At 11:10 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi aof, I know someone else who had thoughts about some of the things written in that article, pretty much along the same lines as you.

That her attitude towards local bloggers is so unflinching would have to be alienating part of her readership. I think she's a good journalist who hasn't thought things through properly. Is it too late for a change of heart? Hope not.


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