When Mishka Henner’s infamous feedlot photos made the internet rounds last year, they caught most viewers off guard. Filled with what looked like colorful pools of ink, smeared across beige canvasses, their captions made it clear that the black flea-sized dots in the photos were in fact cows, and the “ink” was liquid manure collecting alongside giant feedlots or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
When Will Potter, the author, TED fellow, and journalist behind the blog Green Is The New Red, saw the images, he didn’t just feel nauseous, shake his head, and click on something else. He wondered, what else could we learn about CAFOs by documenting them from above? Read more
Women are the backbone of today’s food media. Take a look at our site and you’ll not only see that most of our contributors are women, but many of our featured stories are focused on female food movement leaders and projects spearheaded by women. And yet, the women reporting on this issue area don’t always get the attention they deserve. Read more
Civil Eats is at a critical junction, as we have to raise $55,000 in the next 7 days to meet our Kickstarter goal of $100,000 by Friday, October 18. If we don’t raise the remaining funds, we won’t be able to keep any of the money we’ve raised to date, as per Kickstarter rules. If you care about the future of the good food movement, please consider donating today. Read more
This week, the Pew Research Center issued its annual State of the News Media report, chronicling a shrinking, some might say anemic, news industry. Employment at newspapers is down 30 percent since 2000, dropping below 40,000 people for the first time since 1978. The quality of reporting at many news outlets has fallen as budgets are squeezed and staff cut. Read more
For years, agriculture and the food system have been critically under-reported subjects in the media. Take for example earlier this year, when Gannett (the parent company of USA Today) laid off Phillip Brasher, one of the last reporters covering agriculture issues in Washington, D.C. Thanks to a public outcry (and in part to reporting here on Civil Eats and elsewhere) he was rehired. However, this made clear that the desire for food reporting is not being sufficiently met by the current media structure.
The Food & Environment Reporting Network, a journalism non-profit for investigative reporting in the area of food, agriculture, and environmental health, which launches operations today, is seeking to reverse this trend. Read more
Well-known DC-based agriculture reporter Philip Brasher was just let go by the Des Moines Register. His reporting also often appeared in USA Today; both papers are owned by the parent company Gannett. The loss is a reflection of the climate in journalism today, in which most mainstream media is forced to make cutbacks to editorial and reporting staff due to losses in advertising revenue. But here is why you should really be concerned about the future of food and agriculture policy in this country.
I’ve been asked to respond to a query sent out by GOOD magazine’s new food hub, in their week-long series Food for Thinkers. They ask, “What does–or could, or even should–it mean to write about food today?”
I write about food because I think it is a vital issue that has for decades been critically overlooked by the media–and thus the American public–leaving a vast backlog of interesting stories. And because I think food has the potential to unite us. Read more