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 Eater.com 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