Sunday, February 14, 2010
Food Writer Conference at the Roger Smith Hotel
Standing on a corner waiting for a bus at 7:30 in the morning. A Saturday morning. A cold, gray, Saturday morning. It's the kind of situation that leads one to evaluate their motivations. Do I really want to go to this food writers conference or do I want to crawl back into bed? The appearance of the NYC bound bus made the decision for me. Sometimes buses are smarter than people, because it was a one of the best conferences I've attended.
The only thing I knew about the Roger Smith Hotel was the gallery they have on the corner of 47th Street and Lexington Avenue that always has some very modern art. The interior was a mixture of old time hotel and hip Soho art gallery. A bit of a strange combination, but for this space it worked. I picked up my conference package and made a beeline for a much needed cup of coffee.
The conference was organized by my food history professor Andrew Smith. Since Andy seems to know everyone that has ever written at least one coherent sentence about food, the panels were packed with a veritable pantheon of the culinary authors and auteurs.
The panel discussions were incredible and the 90 minute time slots flew by. Some really insightful and eye opening subjects were discussed. How writing online is more akin to writing for broadcast than writing for old fashioned print magazines. The shorter form pieces written for internet consumption are leading to magazines running shorter pieces. Text alone online will not cut it, online writers need to include multimedia content.
A standout among the panelists was David Leite. He has been blogging for 11 years. Yes, that is correct, 11 years. His mixture of insight into the online and print media worlds, along with his engaging delivery was the apex of the conference for me.
There was also many opportunities to meet the other attendees and panelists. The attendees were just as fascinating and insightful as the panelists so many great conversations were taking place outside of the scheduled programs. Running into friends that such as Lexi of lightheartedlocavore.com, only added to the conference experience.
Videos of the conference should be online soon. When they are, I will supply links to the presentations.