A While back Stewart White from the The Food Media Club, which is renaming itself Australian Association of Food Professionals, called me to talk about launching an award for food blogs as an addition to the Food Media Club Awards. And finally he’s made it happen with the sponsorship of Australian Pork, and I attended the last a few weeks back to a packed house of mostly Sydney bloggers.
Initially, I was skeptical. For as long as anyone can remember in food blogging there has been a rift between traditional media and the food bloggers, mainly traditional media knocking food blogs.
Usually a panel of peers judges journalism awards. The system is imperfect but the panels tend to know what they are talking about.
The difficulty with these food blog awards is in selecting the correct judges but also in establishing the correct criteria for judging and ensuring that they understand it. I think that food blog writing – and blog writing in general – may be completely different to what we consider good writing. Content presented on podcasts and vodcasts is often quite raw, which doesn’t mean it’s any less engaging than the ABC or SBS.
A good food blog is very different from a good food magazine. Usually, it is written by an amateur, one person who is writer, editor, stylist and photographer. And it’s usually a personal story rather than a sharp journalistic fabrication.
If you want to see the difference between the two style perhaps look at the difference between the style of this blog, which is often snarky (even negative) and perhaps a little threatening for some people to leave comments, and Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella. She is embracing, writing to her “dear readers” and has developed a friendly nurturing place (rather than somewhere dark and misanthropic) to inhabit and leave comments.
Most awards for food blogs are themselves massively flawed, skewed towards whoever can mobilise the most votes. I wonder can there be a happy medium perhaps?
Stewart’s own draft criteria are:
– Originality of content
– Engagement with the community (comments, Twitter)
– Quality of writing and photography
– Website design and its usability (content is easily searchable)
These seem pretty good and are on my list too.
I don’t know the answer but what do you think should be the criteria for winning a food blog award?