A local writer ignores the local blogging scene?

Over at the SBS Food site there’s an article about blogging called Everyone’s a Critic, published on Oct 7. I’m not sure how you find it if you don’t already know it’s there. The SBS site is slick and has interesting content, including contributions from two familiar names (Ed Charles and Phil Lees). It is also the most ludicrously over-whizbanged thing and I can’t bear visiting it cos it slows my browser down to snail’s pace.

If you happen to find the article (or cleverly click on this link), you’ll find something else strange. Here, on an Australian food website, is an article that appears completely ignorant of the Australian food-blogging scene. It dwells on many of the international names. It features a mildly interesting interview with an Estonian blogger, yet there’s no Australian blogger quoted. Indeed, when I first read it, I was certain SBS must have bought a syndicated overseas piece and not bothered to adapt it — it’s a trick we’re familiar with from our favourite newspapers. But no, the writer is Australian. Pretty poor.

At the end of the article there’s a very weak attempt at adding some local relevance by listing two local blogs — yes, just two –, one of which was last active eight months ago and was hardly prominent during its seven months of actual life (no disrespect to the owner).

It’s also comical that the article’s title (Everyone’s a Critic) bears no relation to the content. The article steers almost completely clear of foodblogging in its often controversial restaurant-review form.

Not sure if this was a case of how-many-markets-can-I-sell-this-to, an editorial flop, or a writer lacking understanding of local relevance. Whatever the reason, it was a bloody slack effort.

12 thoughts on “A local writer ignores the local blogging scene?”

  1. Hey, I’m curious: which other Australian food blogs would you have added to the list? I have a few that I regularly read but I’m never really conscious of the fact that the writers are Australian, except for your own blog 🙂

  2. Hehe. Y, though deep down I know disappointments are everywhere, sometimes I can’t suppress my irrational expectation that people might do the right thing in their chosen profession… Ho hum.

    @Manggy: the majority of my commenters are Australian foodbloggers, and they are just a subset of the large number that exist. 🙂

  3. That’s just a typical article surely?

    Went to the launch this week of a new food site. A combination of traditional media and bloggers. And the universal reaction from the magazine writers was “oh, you’re one of the bloggers”. Eight people (yes I did count them) said that exact phrase to me. After the third one I started to get annoyed. But also curious.

    We were obviously regarded as one homogenous entity – the reaction was very patronising – but they also seemed bemused.

    However, in talking to each person further, all their magazines were developing strategies to provide more content online, attract more online readers and revenue. The holy grail of greater reader engagement.

    Seemed incongruous to me.

  4. I was disappointed also by the story as it pretty much ignored the pretty vibrant local scene of a few hundred blogs. They aren’t that difficult to find. Helen at Grab Your Fork has a link to a list. I’m going to put up one in a few weeks.

  5. @Ed: but really there are already lots of people out there with quite comprehensive lists of Aussie bloggers. Where’s the Beef? and Kitchenwench both have good lists, as do many others.

    @Kathryn: so silly isn’t it. I think part of it comes from quite a few foodwriters actually having relatively little serious interest in food (a hell of a lot of them end up in the area cos they grew up on a farm or had a mother who cooked lots… so they have an entry point, but not necessarily the passion).

  6. This article looks like it is promoting and/or justifying the SBS’s own food blog. I agree that it is a shame about the lack of local content. It would also be interesting to reflect on how much international impact Australian blogs have. The implication of the article is that they don’t and therefore they don’t matter???

  7. I don’t think it was written to promote their blog that has been up for months and is written by Phil from The Last Appetite which doesn’t rate a mention I just think the author doesn’t know anything about the local or much about the international scene – I mean Julia and Julia that was four years ago.

  8. I’m with Ed, it didn’t seem up-to-date, several references were quite old. It also seems typical for Australian writers to totally ignore their local blogging scene in print, even though most of them seem to read local blogs; it made the article lack relevance. Ironic that the only mention of an Aussie was for the Red Kitchen blog out of Zurich. The writer wasn’t even born here, just passed through, but where did Elkind get the Swedish slant from? There is no mention of anything Swedish that I could see on the blog. Do you think she really looked?

  9. It seems to do everything poorly — if it were intended to promote SBS’s site then it failed to talk about it. The content in the article is outdated, as Neil said, and the author shows no knowledge of the blogging scene, as Ed and the rest of us have observed.

    In all honesty, when I first read it, I suspected it might have been cobbled together from other people’s writings. Doing some superficial googling didn’t yield any support for that suspicion, so I assume the writer just settled on some out-dated information when researching.

  10. I also found it pretty weird that the food blog that I write for SBS didn’t rate a mention (cheers, duncan/ed). It doesn’t seem to legitimate food blogging as a particularly valid form of food criticism.

    I’ll blog about the local scene over there in the next few weeks. As I mentioned on my own site, I’m bad at keeping up with the Australian scene and this will give me an excuse to give some shout outs.

    kathryn – I still get the “oh, you’re a blogger” thing from people in the Australian media – which is a bit weird considering that I also write for the offline press. They pay more attention when I tell them that the readership of my sites is a whole lot bigger than their magazine, if they happened to be wondering why their circulations were beginning to drop precipitously.

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