Wednesday, August 01, 2012

food media forum - a recap and resolutions

Well, it happened! The first St. Louis Food Media Forum was this past weekend and it was (in my humble opinion) a great success! I am so proud to have been a part of the team that put this together. Shout out to my partners in crime: Laura, Kimberly, Stef and Stacy (pictured below with author/writing coach Dianne Jacob).
Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Pollack,

Dianne Jacob was the speaker of the day on the first day of the conference. She told us some ways to become better food writers, advice that I sorely needed. We did some exercises and talked blogging, recipe writing and cookbook publication. It was all very inspiring! Go read Dianne's blog post about the day and her writing exercises

Also, her book, Will Write For Food, has a blurb from Anthony Bourdain! RESPECT.
Dianne works the room. Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Pollack,

Day 2 of the conference had a bunch of speakers. The first 3 hours were dedicated to food photography. Four of my favorite photographers (and my favorite people), Jonathan Pollack (who is responsible for all of the gorgeous photos in this post!), Jennifer Silverberg, Jonathan Gayman and Corey Woodruff. You may recall that I attended a food photography class led by Corey last year. I learned a lot in that class, and even more Sunday morning! It takes a lot of knowledge and know-how to make a truly good photo... you can never learn too much! So valuable!

Another speaker on the second day was Ashlyn Brewer, from Standing PR, who taught us how to better utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While I don't aspire to make money with this blog, I do like getting new readers, so this was some good stuff to hear about. Cheryl, who runs the popular Tidy Mom blog, also spoke about marketing and branding for blogs. Again... bring me more readers! I enjoyed meeting her and hearing her story and point-of-view. Catherine Neville and Kristen Brashares, from FEAST Magazine also dropped some smarts on us, talking about marketing and ethics.

Discussing ethics! Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Pollack,
Besides the wealth of knowledge this conference afforded us, there was also bonding. Everyone there was passionate enough about food to want to learn how to better tell the world about it. These are my people! Meeting and mingling was one of my favorite aspects of the weekend. Friendships were born and spicy discussions were had. 

3 main food groups? Photos Courtesy of Jonathan Pollack,
 Let's not forget about the generous sponsors! Ice cream, wine beer, cookies, t-shirts and more! These nice companies kept us well fed and heavily swagged all weekend. As organized we felt pressure to have better-than-average conference food, considering the room would be filled with food enthusiasts. See Stacy's recap and our website for the full list of sponsors... and patronize them! They rock!
Seriously. Can I used the words "Learned" and "Knowledge" any more in this post? What am I going to do to utilize these gifts? Here is a list of resolutions that I am making inspired by the St. Louis Food Media Forum. They should make this space a better use of of your time: prettier, more interesting, useful and more welcoming.
Iron Stef's Food Media Forum Resolutions:

• Write better. 
Work on describing food better, avoiding vague adjectives like "delicious," "yummy" and "tasty." 

• Take better photos. 
Full Manual Mode! Tripod! Diffusers! Reflectors! Angles! White Balance! RAW files!

• Be more involved. 
I have been lax about commenting on all the food blogs I read. I like comments, and so do others! It's how we make our blogs into a community of people passionate about food.

• Think.
Be interesting, open, thoughtful and mindful when writing EVERY post. What do my readers want? How can I get other people to dig food? Am I hurting/helping anyone? How can I boost the communities I reside in with my blog? How can I make the world a better place in small and in big ways?

If that was not enough smooshy food blog love for you, check out these posts:
-Cupcake Project's Stef tell us Ten Reasons to Start a Food Blog. I agree with them whole-heartedly!

-A recent post where I talk about why I blog.

-A great post by a new friend about his admiration for the St. Louis food community, specifically how we use twitter. Go STL!

-Robyn talks about the first day of Food Media Forum, and the writing exercises we did. She also asks for ideas on how to use some of the fabulous swag she received.


Kitchen Riffs said...

Sounds like a terrific conference. Congrats on helping organize it. Oh, and shooting in RAW is your friend - once you figure out a workflow for converting the files, new worlds will open up to you.

Every Little Thing said...

Great recap! I have those same resolutions. The conference was very inspiring, even for us organizer!

S. Eric Ketzer said...

While I do not aspire to shift my blogs focus from music to food, your passion has certainly made me a fan of food and of food blogs. I look forward to seeing what kind of interesting descriptions you come up with in the future. Feel free to use some of my more prized work portraits of Saison.

Natalie said...

So bummed I missed this event, but I'm glad to hear it sounds like there will be a repeat :)

Laura @FoodSnobSTL said...

I'm a little (ok, a lot) behind on blog reading. I'm glad I am reading this now though because it was a good reminder of everything a few weeks out!

Dianne Jacob said...

Stef, you all did a tremendous job organizing this event. And it was so much fun! I loved St. Louis, from the little bit of it I saw on my car tour with Lisa.