There’s a new publication in town, cannibalizing our content and serving up stories warmed over from other hard-working, decent local blogs. The end result is a one-stop shop for all news and information about food and Boston’s beloved-ly burgeoning restaurant scene. It’s gobbling up bytes of information and spitting them out to the local dining community.
Yep, it’s called Eater.
The Eater network is a chain of content aggregators who link to other food blogs, but mostly sum up what those blogs say for medium morsels and quick reading. They then sell this traffic to a giant mega-sized corporate advertiser (like, say Starbucks) to do a content takeover. Or they participate in the red-hot field of “Editorial Integration” wherein you think you’re reading about cocktails in your city then surprise! Absolut Vodka.
It then funnels content from its celebrity chef and food TV reality show news-based national network. Eater is in itself part of the larger Curbed Network that was founded by, wait for it, Lockhart Steele.
It’s basically like an RSS feed with an editor.
So peppered between pilfered stories from Chowder (aka Boston Magazine), the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, we have a story about which celebrity appeared on last night’s Next Iron Chef. Its local editor is Aaron Kagan, formerly a freelancer and blogger at teaandfood.com. His introduction to the site asks for your free content. “Help us help you,” he writes:
While I hope Eater Boston will be your one-stop shop for all things food and drink in this wonderful city, we won’t be able to do it without you, the faithful readers: reader input, comments, rants and raves are our lifeblood.
Read: Help us generate traffic for Wal-Mart!
(Also worth noting that its sister real-estate blog Curbed Boston also launched in Boston recently edited by Tom Acitelli, who came over from the New York Observer.)
But fear not food blogger! All that traffic isn’t going to HTC/Walmart ads in vain. You might be able to help Eater out [No.—Ed.] by closing down your own blog for 25 bucks. Back when the site launched nationally, Lockhart Steele held a campaign that offered you, hard-working food blogger, a whopping $25 to shut down their blog and post a redirect to their site.
Will they offer it to Grub Street or Chowhound? Time can only tell.
“HOW TO KILL JOURNALISM” was the headline of a recent column by Jack Lessenberry, contributor at the Detroit Metro Times. In it, he derides managing editor Michelle Rogers for sending a (seemingly distraught email gallingly titled “A Reporter with Today’s Tools Should Use Them.”
Rogers describes her day as a managing editor:
Most of my 60-hour work week is spent editing copy, posting articles and photos online, assigning stories to staff and freelancers, engaging the audience on behalf of our publications via social media, keeping abreast of issues going on across the county, checking out new technology, processing press releases and reader-generated content, and administrative tasks such as tracking website traffic, managing my email account, which brings in about 300 messages a day, reviewing and submitting payroll, employee reviews and processing stringer invoices.
Rogers then asks reporters to “Check in” to events, post live video, update their Facebook, host a “live chat” the next day and upload city council agendas. Things like this. Suggestions.
But Lessenberry derides Rogers’ call for social media integration into journalism as “nonsense” and “multimedia acrobatics.”
The multimedia approach this editor suggests for her local village council meeting would be entirely appropriate if Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln and Vladimir Lenin showed up and began raising the dead, while simultaneously walking a tightrope backwards.
Wallblog.com analyzed the information and amongst their conclusions decided that “Journalists are now aggregators and aggregation can be a powerful way to create content.”
Mr. Lessenberry, would you like us to print out this webpage so you can read it? Oh sorry, you’re on your phone.