Full disclosure: I've been on the committee that oversees the Journalism Awards for the James Beard Foundation for three years now, and we've gone and blown the whole thing up.
For the first time in the history of the awards - established in 1992 and often called the "Oscars of the food world" - categories will be determined by content, rather than medium. Gone are the days of "Newspaper Food Section with Circulation of 300,000 and Above" (and corollary "Under 300,000"), "Magazine Writing with Recipes" and catch-all categories like "Internet Writing on Food, Nutrition, Travel, Restaurant and Beverage" that existed in years past. Enter, "Food Section of a General Interest Publication," "Environment, Food Politics, and Policy" and "Humor" - with newspaper, magazine and online submissions allowed for all.
Why? Because we cracked a window in the Peter Kump Boardroom and noticed it was 2010 outside.
This is not a dance on the grave of print publication. Despite economically challenging times, staffing cuts and the competition posed by the immediacy and accessibility of online journalism, both magazines and newspapers continue to produce vital, vibrant, resonant journalism.
Rather, this is an acknowledgment that online contributions should no longer be relegated to the kids' table. Many of the same journalists who originally crafted their careers from ink and paper have found that the impact of their words and images are not lessened - and in fact can often be enhanced and delivered to a wider audience - via digital distribution.
One other change worth mentioning - we realized we'd be remiss not to acknowledge that a massive group blog or one backed by a large media organization (like Eatocracy - which, it should be noted, is not eligible for entry as long as I am a committee member) has a different set of resources than a single or several-person operation. The judges will still hold the latter to the same standard, but in a category that reflects the particular contribution bloggers have on the food world today. Welcome, "Individual Food Blog."
The new categories and definitions for the 2011 James Beard Journalism Awards are:
MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award: Recognizes a single article of exceptional literary merit pertaining to food and/or drink published in any medium.
Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award: Recognizes discerning criticism of enduring value which contributes to the larger discourse on cuisine or restaurants. An entry consists of three restaurant reviews or critiques published in any medium, attached as one entry.
Food Section of a General Interest Publication: Recognizes excellence in food writing, reporting, and packaging of a regularly-published food section in a non food-focused publication. Entries may be from any medium and consist of three complete examples of the full section.
Food-related Feature: Recognizes excellence in a single food- or drink- related article published in any medium that demonstrates enterprise, curiosity, and rigor.
Personal Essay: Recognizes excellence in a first-person essay on any food or drink-related topic, published in any medium. An entry consists of one eloquent essay that demonstrates a unique voice, perceptiveness and style.
Humor: Recognizes a single piece of written and/or visual food- or drink-related satire, parody, or other form of humor, published in any medium.
Cooking, Recipes, or Instruction: Recognizes excellence and innovation in food service journalism. It honors originality and seeks fresh approaches—both written and visual—to make cooking methods, ingredient knowledge, and recipes accessible to a wide audience. An entry consists of three pieces published in any medium.
Profile: Recognizes a dramatic presentation that brings to life the world of a chef, restaurateur, grower, producer, or other figure or group of significance to food or drink, published in any medium.
Food Culture and Travel: Recognizes the importance of place, culture, and history in food journalism. An entry consists of a single piece, or series of related pieces or posts, published in any medium, that makes the connection of food to a community or location.
Environment, Food Politics, and Policy: Recognizes excellence in investigative reporting, analysis, or other public service journalism on environmental, political, or policy-related issues regarding food or drink, published in any medium. An entry consists of a single piece or a series of related pieces or posts.
Health and Nutrition: Recognizes enlightening journalism on food- or drink-related health or nutrition topics published in any medium. An entry consists of one definitive article or series of thematically-related pieces or posts.
Food-related Columns and Commentary: Recognizes the work of an individual that demonstrates thought-provoking opinion and a compelling style. An entry consists of three examples, regularly published in any medium.
Wine and Spirits: Recognizes distinctive style and innovative approach. An entry consists of a single article on wine, spirits, or other alcohol beverages, published in any medium.
Multimedia Food Feature: Recognizes excellence and innovation in storytelling or communication. Entries consist of an integrated package of one piece, or a series of up to three pieces, on food-or-drink-related topic which integrates multiple tools (such as video, audio, narrative, links, social media), published in any medium which allows for these tools.
Individual Food Blog: Recognizes individual enterprise and excellence in a single food-or drink-related blog that is the product of one primary voice, or a small group of regular contributors. An entry consists of three days, weeks, or threads of posts, whichever best represents the publishing schedule of the work.
Publication of the Year: Recognizes excellence in one magazine, newspaper, or website. It is awarded by the Journalism Committee of the James Beard Foundation and is based on nominations presented to them by the full roster of Journalism judges and by former James Beard Journalism Award winners.
Visit the James Beard Awards site for entry guidelines.
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I'm glad you have chosen to recognize blogs. However, I suspect most of your entries will come from employees at media organizations that can afford to pay the entry fees.
When I was at a major US newspaper, we had a full-time employee who spent more than a week of her time entering our work in your contest, and the paper paid for everything.
Now that I'm independent, how could I possibly compete with that?
This guy looks racist. Just sayin'.
Youse talkin ta me? I'll rub you out like a 2nd grader with a red "Big Chief" pencil!
No, Head (I assume). The white guy in the in the emblem of the story. Just looks like someone that would make racist jokes for some reason. No sparkling wiggles here!!
Jdizzle,I am offended! Why would I hire some NJ nitwit to do a whack job such as this? I'm sure Coach Mike knows someone that would work cheaper and not demand a multi-year contract!
PairAzzHilton videos are "cheap" and "easy to come by" as well.
Touche or as they say in French "Douche" my friend.
I prefer the former.
Your working late man. What's up?
Yeah, I'm here til 6pm CST. One banker left for another company (much like I am trying to do), so now we have to rotate shifts.
Gonna stay with the Banking Biz?
If I have to. I'd prefer to run a surf shop on the beach and smoke Philly blunts everyday.
They have beaches in cheese-head land? Speaking of Philly Blunts,that's what the Rangers are gonna do to Philly in the WS!
Alright Bud,it's close to closing time so I'll yell at you tomorrow. Have a good evening.
Youse want me to put a contract on this guy so youse can get an award?
UFO=UFO it's the Russians from the Space Station!
In Soviet Russia, Blog Writes YOU!
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