The Future of the Food Magazine: Talking with Kerry Diamond
By Sarah Zorn
Needless to say, we here at Northside Media Group have a vested interest in the fate of print publications. But the future appears to be looking a little brighter of late, in light of the recent, runaway success of magazines like Cherry Bombe, a bi-annual treatise of women in food founded by Kerry Diamond (the successful restaurateur behind Nightingale 9 and Wilma Jean). We got the 411 from Kerry on what to expect from her upcoming Taste Talks panel, Online/Offline: The Future of Food Magazines, and you can bet we’ll be in attendance, hanging on to every word!
I own every copy of the original Domino, lots of original Ruth Reichl Gourmet issues, and hundreds of cookbooks, and read Eater every day. The internet fascinates me, but I love printed matter and I’m a serious magazine junkie. I can’t imagine a world without newspapers and magazines, so selfishly, this panel is of great interest to me. Also, as an indie magazine editor and publisher and the owner of three Brooklyn eateries, the food media impacts my life and livelihood in some very real ways, so I bring that perspective.
It’s going to be a fun, enlightening hour because we have a lot of perspectives represented. Dana Cowin has been at Food & Wine for 20 years and has seen the food media turned upside down in that time. Adam Rapoport was at GQ when he was tasked with turning Bon Appétit into a relevant food magazine a few years ago. Peter Meehan is a founder of Lucky Peach, which you could argue had the same impact on the food media as Nirvana had on rock n’ roll. Amanda Hesser has written best-selling cookbooks, worked at the New York Times and launched the lovely Food52. They’re all experts, they’re all smart, and they’re all lively people, so I expect some great back and forth.
If you’re a media junkie, a media employee and/or an enthusiastic consumer of food media, this panel is for you. Obviously, we’ll talk about the current state of the food media and how everything from the internet to the Food Network to indie magazines have influenced and up-ended this universe for better or worse. We’ll also talk about the story process. I think having these four people together is a terrific opportunity to discuss how they decide what—and who—gets covered and why, and how they put the pieces of each story together: writer, photographer, angle, headline, etcetera.
It’s always interesting to hear what media is consumed by the media, so we’ll talk to them about what they are reading, watching, paying attention to and being influenced by. I’d like to hear what stories and topics they think are important today and what they predict will be important tomorrow. There’s the advertising question and how native advertising and sponsored content are having an impact. And then there’s the reader. Who is he or she? Who do these editors think their reader is and who do they want their reader to be? Do they all want an affluent 35-year-old male with a driver’s license and an appetite for a Viking range? Let’s find out.