Course Number: JOUR-UA 204.061
Day & Time: Tue/Thu 3:00-6:00pm
Instructor: Mayukh Sen
Albert Class Number: 2635
“Food writing is stepping out. It’s about time. For far too long it’s been the timid little sister of the writing world, afraid to raise its voice.”
— Ruth Reichl, The Best American Food Writing 2018
It’s certainly a curious time to be a food journalist. Food journalism, like many coverage areas, has shifted dramatically since the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic reminds us that food isn’t just a fluffy diversion. There’s always been more to food journalism than recipes and restaurant reviews.
The above quote from Ruth Reichl captures the ethos of this class: Food deserves to be taken seriously. Food has many stories to tell.
Reporting on food in this current moment poses a number of challenges, but there’s also a wealth of opportunities to find fresh food stories and tell them inventively. The most agile food journalists have risen to this challenge brilliantly, keeping readers informed in a time of uncertainty.
Over six weeks this summer, you’ll immerse yourself in food journalism’s many forms. We’ll be navigating this exciting new online format together. You’ll learn how to write personal essays and profiles of people in the food industry. Together, we’ll also grapple with a challenge many professional food writers are currently facing: How do you write about restaurants in a country without functioning restaurants? We’ll pay particular attention to labor, turning to the stories of restaurant line cooks who’ve suddenly found themselves jobless and grocery store workers who risk their lives to bring food to consumers. Guest speakers will include some of the most important voices working in food journalism.
By the end of the class, you’ll be in a position to confidently pitch the story you’re proudest of to a publication. Whether you’d like to pursue food journalism as a career or merely get your feet wet in it, you’ll fare well if you bring eagerness and a dose of healthy journalistic skepticism to every story you encounter. And you must have a good appetite.