food journalism

The 2018 AFJ Annual Conference: Save Money + Experience the MIM!

A jazz organ at the Musical Instrument Museum, just one of the highlights in this collection of global instruments. Photo courtesy Musical Instrument Museum. 

A jazz organ at the Musical Instrument Museum, just one of the highlights in this collection of global instruments. Photo courtesy Musical Instrument Museum. 

The 2018 AFJ annual conference is packed with sessions designed to challenge and inspire you, including our Friday morning plenary featuring Eric Newton, Innovation Chief at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Newton's session will detail how modern-day journalism tools were predicted in pop culture and science fiction. He'll address how the past impacts the future and where things go from here. Check out the full conference agenda and list of speakers at


House-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas, a feature at Café Allegro's 2017 Eat Local Challenge. Photo courtesy Café Allegro. 

House-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas, a feature at Café Allegro's 2017 Eat Local Challenge. Photo courtesy Café Allegro. 

The night before we get things rolling, join us for an opening reception like you’ve never experienced before at AFJ. If you’ve attended past conferences, you know that Tuesdayevening before the conference is usually low key, with perhaps a bar meet-up at the host hotel. 

Not so this year. The incredible Musical Instrument Museum (the MIM) will open its doors for a private reception for AFJ conference attendees. The AFJ Board will welcome you to one of the top attractions in Phoenix, rated one of the top 25 museums in the country by TripAdvisor. 

The MIM opened in Phoenix in 2010, founded by Robert J. Ulrich, chairman emeritus of Target Corp. Inspired by the Musical Instrument Museum in Belgium, Ulrich created the Phoenix MIM to, unlike other musical museums, showcase a vast collection of instruments from every country across the globe. There is no other museum in America like the MIM.

Café Allegro, the signature eatery inside the MIM, is operated by Bon Appétit Management Co., an innovative California-based food services company known for turning the traditional corporate contract food services business model upside down. The café’s menu focus is local: Arizona produce and proteins. The photo here highlights a dish from their 2017 Eat Local Challenge, featuring house-made mesquite meal and Supai red corn quesadillas. At the Tuesday evening reception, you'll enjoy a variety of small bites from the café, paired with local Arizona wines, within the confines of one of the most interesting museums in the U.S.

The conference is open to the public. Not a member? Like saving money? Ready to save on your membership AND registration fees? 

Join AFJ as a member now! Folks who join AFJ as new members ($100) and register as an AFJ member ($375) by the June 1 deadline can save $50. Registration rates this year are based on the following tiered pricing structure:

  • May 3 - June 1 - $375 for members; $425 for non-members
  • June 2 - July 13 - $400 for members; $450 for non-members
  • July 14 - Sept. 1 - $475 for members; $525 for non-members

Don't wait. Join AFJ as a member today and join us in Phoenix this September.

AFJ would like to thank our generous sponsors Arizona Vignerons Alliance and Bon Appétit Management Company and Visit Phoenix for making this evening possible.


The 2018 AFJ Awards Competition Is Open!

It’s the top competition for food journalism, and we want you to enter.

The 2018 AFJ Awards Competition is now accepting entries. This year, there are 18 categories in print, Web and broadcast journalism. And, they include six new ones. For the first time, AFJ is accepting entries for Spanish language food story.

AFJ’s awards are open to journalists everywhere, including students, but there’s a special discount available to AFJ members in good standing. Renew before you enter, and you’ll save. Or, send in an application to join, and get the discount after you’ve been accepted.

But act quickly. The awards deadline is midnight ET, March 1. We prefer electronic entries, but you can submit by mail, too. See the details in our competition guidelines.

We’ll announce the winners at AFJ’s annual convention in Phoenix, Sept. 26-28, 2018. Just think: warm weather, southwestern cuisine and your name on an AFJ award.

Start thinking about your entries now, and get them in by March 1.

Micki Maynard, Awards Manager

Looking back on 2017 by AFJ President Kathleen Purvis

Looking back on 2017, has there ever been a year that has better shown the value of ground-breaking food journalism? Months before #metoo and attention to the career-destroying antics of Harvey Weinstein, Brett Anderson of the New Orleans Times-Picayune was already at work, chasing reports of sexual harassment by chef John Besh and disturbing patterns in his company’s treatment of female employees.

That was quickly followed by the solid reporting by Kim Severson and Julia Moskin of The New York Times on similar behavior by restaurateur Ken Friedman. Then Amanda Kludt’s staff at broke the news on accusations against super chef Mario Batali.

As food journalists, many of us can cite times when we were dismissed as “recipe churners” or treated as lesser journalists even in our own newsrooms. But the work of these fine food reporters and editors proves that food journalism is journalism. Period.

While you’re thinking about whether to join AFJ or renew your membership, think about the value of what we all do. In the same way that many members are reinventing themselves and finding new paths for their careers, AFJ is reinventing itself, too, to play a role in supporting skills, training and professional development. And, yes, many of us can still write a mean recipe, too. 

I can’t wait to see what our members will do in 2018. But right now, in 2017, I’m proud to know you all.

Kathleen Purvis, AFJ President and member since 1994


AFJ Hosts a Members Only Webinar with Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater

Just how far have we come since 'The Gods of Food'? In November 2013, Time magazine published a special issue titled the “Gods of Food" that listed 13 “Gods,” a chef’s family tree, and a series of articles about the key “influencers” in food today. No female chefs or restaurateurs made the “Gods” list, nor were any included in the modern restaurant lineage. Outrage followed, but are we any better off when it comes to the recognition of female chefs in 2018 than we were in 2013? This examination, through 28 pie charts, hopes to answer that question.

Amanda Kludt is the Editor in Chief of Eater, a publication covering the ins and outs of dining and food in America and around the world. Through original reporting, longform journalism, maps and guides, reviews, and video, Eater informs its audience on the latest news, tells them where to eat and drink, and highlights important issues facing the world of restaurants. Before Eater, Kludt worked at Gridskipper and Metro. She has contributed to Lucky Peach, Cherry Bombe, The Guardian, and others.

This webinar is available as a special AFJ member benefit. All AFJ members who have joined or renewed for 2018 are welcome to participate. Ready to save 10% on your 2018 AFJ membership? Take advantage of our promotional pricing available until Dec. 31, 2017. Join us today.

To RSVP or to inquire about membership, email

Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater.

Amanda Kludt, Editor in Chief of Eater.

Next AFJ Sound Bites webinar: Inclusive Storytelling with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone

Next AFJ Sound Bites webinar: Inclusive Storytelling with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone

Join AFJ for "Inclusive Storytelling for Food Writers with Nieman Foundation Fellow Tristan Ahtone," on Tuesday, December 12, at 1:30 p.m. 

Drawing from personal experience and his current work on how to improve coverage of Indigenous communities, Ahtone will spend twenty minutes sharing tips and resources for culinary journalists regarding inclusive storytelling best practices. 

Tristan Ahtone is a New Mexico-based journalist and a contributing editor with High Country News’ Tribal Affairs desk. He has reported for “PBS NewsHour,” “National Native News,” Wyoming Public Radio, NPR and Al Jazeera America. Ahtone’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Gannett Foundation.


As if AFJ needs to provide a good reason to visit Philadelphia.

Conference chair Maureen Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Food Editor, has created an event that highlights Philadelphia's rich history with iconic tastes of the city's inspired foodscape, abundant with so much more than meaty sandwiches. This year's annual conference includes a panel featuring several of the nation's most lauded chefs and restaurateurs, a private lunch for conference attendees at Stephen Starr's beloved Talula's Garden and a discussion exploring the basics of pathfinding your food journalist career while following your moral compass. Pulitzer Prize-finalist Laura Reiley of Tampa Bay Times will moderate a panel with chefs addressing the realities of operating a Farm to Table restaurant with integrity. Signature events of the annual conference kick off Wednesday evening when we honor Marian Burros, recipient of the 2017 Carol DeMasters Award for Service to Food Journalism, followed by the announcement and presentation of the first-, second- and third-place awards to winners of the 2017 AFJ Awards Competition. The Taste of Philadelphia takes place at the newly-opened Museum of the American Revolution Thursday night. Here is the agenda. Ready to register?