Friday, October 17, 2008

Integrating Food Coverage Throughout the Paper

The panel here featured Teresa Farney of the Colorado Springs Gazette, JoLene Krawczak of the Oregonian and former Atlanta Journal Constitution food editor Susan Puckett. Farney began by speaking about food news moving out of the food section. She collaborated with a metro reporter on a new ethnic grocery store where the other reporter conducted interviews in Spanish.

Susan Puckett said there was an expectation at the AJC of food stories moving out of the section as needed. She worked on a synergy with multimedia and the Web. She worked with online producers and became more nimble, resourceful and open-minded. The staff is now divided into print, online and newsgathering with writers producing stories across platform. Evening Edge aggregates content from dining channel, with quick fixes for busy people getting dinner on the table. A recipe database, which is searchable, is maintained by a staff member. Chefs do video "Dinner Dare" with video of them coming up with a quick dish. This evolved from a chef who became a "biscuit therapist," blogging in response to users' biscuit challenges. There was also a photo gallery, which did well.

Food never goes out of style and survives all economic situations.

Krawczak talked about extending the food brand beyond the paper. Food section moved from one floor down and now share a pod in the newsroom with the political team. The move increased cooperation and reducd poaching. Experiment was to develop a new mag from the food staff. Mix magazine was started by Martha Holmberg, former editor for Fine Cooking. Portland is an innovative food town. Staff did not increase. she has one-part time writer, two part-time editors and a part-timer in the test kitchen. Mag goes to nonsubscribers 30-45 young marrieds without children and singles, about 40,000 households. Publishes six times a year. Been successful. Have 2,000 subscribers, growing at about 200 per issue. Six thousands copies on newsstands. Goes for messy, funky look but sometimes it comes out more beautiful than planned.

Do restaurant trends. Other newsroom staffers want to write for the magazine. Has unified the newsroom. May repurpose reviews into capsules at the back of the book. Friday night dinner party reader throws casual dinner party and it's rewritten and published. It's the most popular feature in the magazine. Originally had to seed, but now people line up to do it. They use mostly staff photographers. There's a big freelance budget for Mix, and now share branding with the paper. Feature on Kitchens, which are a state of mind. Also includes a wine panel. Two other glossty magazines -- Northwest (do restaurant reviews) and Homes and Gardens Northwest (done by newspaper staff). Mix more about food and lifestyle.

Primary advertisers lto fo nontraditional food and drink ad, e.g. new condos, Macy's, wineries and restaurants have little ads.

The mags go to 40,000 people in in different target audiences, plus 5,000 on newsstands. Advertisers can do all three since they reach different audiences. Subscriptions are $10 for six issues $18 for 12 issues. Some readers complain if they know someone who gets it for free. The editor spends half her time on Mix, and is more efficient on the front end of the weekly section.

Mix has new website mixpdx. Ad ratio is 50-50 but she fights for 60-40 and it ends up somewhere in between.

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