When Food meets the Web

I have two main loves in life. One is for journalism and media, the other for food and when these two things merge together in a cohesive way I am like a little kid on Christmas morning – staring wide-eyed  at the bounty under the tree.

Being a self-professed foodie I have my arsenal of media sources I check on the regular when I want a new recipe or restaurant to try.

I have a love affair for  Zagat’s Boston Blog as I have gushed before -The site visually is simple, clean and sophisticated. Just like the persona of Zagat itself. A mogul in restaurant reviews  Zagat is certainly an expert source in knowing where to go and what to order.

The reason I love their Boston blog is because it is tailored to my lovely city! A creative quark of the site is it has weekly themes, this week being coffee- which is àpropos for all the Boston college students muscling through exams this week. Last weeks theme was burgers! and who wouldn’t love that.  Zagat’s Boston blog does a great job of  profiling local restaurant news, chefs as well as incorporating national news and how that relates locally. It involves its audience by providing a link to sign up for their weekly newsletter  as well as there being a comment section/ linking ability to social media sites if you wish to share the particular story. – The site also has links for blogs in other major cities likes Los Angeles or New York City so if you are traveling you can still find the best ‘eats’ around you. The site also has a link to its original claim to fame- its reviews and ‘Best Of’ lists on Zagat.com

A few close seconds I also love to peruse are Renee Hirschberg’s blog, Eat. Live. Blog. I enjoy her site because it is more personal. Hirschberg is a local restaurant reviewers and food blogger and I originally came across her blog through her Twitter.  She live tweets comments and photos when she is out reviewing a new restaurant which I enjoy and you can really sense her passion and excitement for food through her writing and through her tweets. Her site is easy to navigate with different tabs for reviews and recipes and has a fun logo.

And lastly, an oldie but goodie  The Boston Globe’s Food and Dining Section. In its classic style you’d imagine your grandmother cracking open a copy of the paper on a weekend morning looking for a new restaurant to try. With mouth-watering photos, the front page of the section lays out every facet of foodie related news at your mouse-click. From its ‘Recipe Box’ to Q&A articles, reviews and news on food trends it is a no-fail way to find whatever local gastronomic news your stomach desires.

Maybe you will find me writing my next blog post at one of Zagat’s recommended ‘10 Hot indie Coffee Shops in Boston‘!

Happy Eating

Winter Favorites

Us Bostonians have been inundated with snow over the past few weeks and on a dreary snowy  day like today I like to do nothing more than spend it in my kitchen.

Here are some cozy winter dishes that have my mouthwatering:

The food network has never done me wrong when it comes to making new dishes. One food I have become obsessed with this winter are Brussels Sprouts. These green veggies come with a stigma that needs to be broken; when cooked the right way they are quite delicious!

One thing that is so wonderful about winter is that it is full of food that makes your heart feel good. Soups, roasts, stews and more hearty dishes.

Other like-minded food bloggers have posted their favorite winter dishes on Food Gawker. From soups to breads and even wintry cocktails. When your cooped up indoors what is better than bringing the fun to your kitchen!

Shake the winter blues with a delicious meal that’ll warm you up.

Open Doors

Last week, my class go the pleasure to speak with Mary Knox Merrill, the current Associate Director of Multimedia and Communications for the Marketing and Communications major here at Northeastern.

Merrill came to talk to us about her journey to where she is today. Merrill is a professional photographer, having traveled extensively  for the Christian Science Monitor working on documentaries and taking photos before joining the NU community. The main purpose of her visit was to teach us tricks of the trade to creating a great story through video. But there was more to her lecture that really resonated. Merrill talked about her path into photography and journalism. After college she interned and took different apprenticeships in photography and eventually got to the Monitor. Merrill expressed just how important it is in the field to get out there, network and do anything and everything offered to you – because you never know what is going to help you towards your goals.

“You never know who is going to open a door for you”

This philosophy is something I have always personally believed, but I feel in the business of journalism it is particularly important. In 2 years of my college career I have done internships with MassLive.com, the online partnership to the Springfield Republican in Western Mass. where I worked as a digital reporter. I wrote stories, conducted interviews, filmed and edited videos, took photos and more. I learned an incredible amount during my two months with MassLive- a lot of skills that I am now translating back into the classroom. I interned as well with WSHM, the CBS affiliate in Springfield, Mass. Here I helped write scripts for the afternoon and evening newscasts, updated stores for the station website and even went out on stories with reporters. And finally, through Northeastern’s co-op education program I was able to spend 6 months in New York City working for MSNBC . Here, I worked in the booking department for the daytime shows during the week. I helped coördinate guests, conduct research and worked elbows-deep in the action behind live national television. Besides working in the esteemed Rockefeller Plaza during milestone events like the 2012 Presidential Election, Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 Summer Olympics I learned so much about the television business that has undoubtably shaped my future – and has attributed greatly to my education in the classroom.
Learning through experience has been a truly invaluable gift for me -getting out of the classroom and into the field isn’t something that should wait till you have your diploma. The more work experience you can gather under your belt, the more and more it will help you.

It is key, in today’s world and in the world of journalism to not be afraid to dive in and learn through every outlet at your fingertips.

Northeastern battles ‘Nemo’

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Blizzard Nemo tore through the Northeast over the weekend, Northeastern University students weren’t too upset by the whopping 25 inches of snow dumped on campus. With classes cancelled, the T service suspended and the majority of stores, restaurants and conveniences suspended students took to the campus quad to enjoy the snow.
Click on the photo above to a link to my Flickr photo gallery

How Food Trends span across the Globe

Check out my Storify board on how food trends affect us here as well as across the world. A simple price hike at the local grocery here in Boston can translate to famine and havoc in other countries. It is eye-opening to connect such grave differences and see what needs to be done.

http://storify.com/OHesslein/how-food-trends-translate-across-the-globe#

Content vs Competition

Last week, my class had the pleasure to gain some journalistic insight from a reporter for the Free Press, Josh Stearns. Stearns is a wonderful voice on the future of journalism; as well he has written numerous reports on Press Freedom and media consolidation. This time last year the country we were deep within the ‘Occupy’ moment that  swept across the country. Stearns did a remarkable job covering the day-to-day action of ‘Occupy Wall street’ in New York City. He was tweeting, writing, taking videos and photos- all of which he was able to compile on Storify. Storify is like a soundboard of information where you can find every media and form of information on the topic of your search -from articles to tweets, links, photos and videos all posted by the public as well as by media outlets all in one place  like a virtual cork board. Stearns  in his conversation with us reflected on his Storify, which won ‘Storify of the Year’ in 2012 and how his experience with it has changed his viewpoint on how valuable information can be relayed to the public in new and different ways.

Storify is a great way to “network your story with the internet” to take the information you have and allow it to grow with the addition of the comments of others. It is a flexible platform where you can engage with your readers and  learn about new developments in real time. Using Storify a story has a way to evolve and you can see the changes through different mediums all on the same page. You can take a story from one media platform and see how it gains different facets…It has the ability to extend conversations and allows those who post and share on the site to learn more from one another.

Storify in my opinion embodies a true principle of journalism and reporting: That it is produced by the people, for people. Sometimes I feel like different  media outlets, when it comes to newspapers, websites or television networks- the competition to be the first to break a story or the one to get ‘the’ interview can take precedence over the content itself. It is easy to lose touch with the principle of the business

We all decide to go into this field because we share a passion for searching out the truth and informing the public for  the good of our society.

With that said, I feel Storify  helps to connect back to that sentiment – how important it is to focus on the content over the competition.