Alt-weekly food writers made their presence known at the Association of Food Journalists’ (AFJ) annual conference last week in Charleston, S.C.
For the first time, AFJ explicitly addressed issues relating to alt-weekly food writing.
Seattle Weekly food critic Hanna Raskin led a panel featuring Besha Rodell from Creative Loafing Atlanta, Lisa Sorg from the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) and Robert Sietsema from The Village Voice.
“Our goal was to define what alt-weekly food journalism looks like,” said Raskin.
Food critics at alternative publications have creativity and flexibility not possible for other critics, the group concluded, and are able to explore more off-the-radar ethnic restaurants than their colleagues at mainstream publications.
Raskin said a focus on the diversity and accomplishments of alt-weekly food writers made the event “a feel good panel.”
In addition, several alt-weekly food writers took home awards at the conference. Riverfront Times‘ Kristin Hinman and Brooke Foster, L.A. Weekly‘s Jonathan Gold, Katharine Shilcutt of the Houston Press, and the aforementioned Besha Rodell each received first-place honors.