When I opened up an email from some guy at Flavor 574/Federated Media stating that they would no longer be accepting stories from their community bloggers, I was disappointed. The local food scene is something I’m passionate about and I was upset that Flavor was no longer allowing me to use their influence and reach to continue getting the word out.
For me, a vibrant dining scene is one of the keys to growing a community not just in size but in the overall sense of the word. Meals are one of those few times where we can gather as a group and still have a meaningful conversation. Restaurants, cafes, bars and the like give us the opportunity to not only have discussions with the people we know but with complete strangers, where we can hash out the issues that confront us every day.
The loss of Flavor 574 as an outlet was disappointing not only for me but for the articles about the places I had yet to write about, for the stories about the places where stories are told.
After debating whether or not to latch on with another news outlet, I decided to continue to try and grow this blog in the hope that I would avoid another future “We’ve decided to go another way and your services will no longer be needed” email. Sure, my reach at this point wouldn’t be as great as Flavor’s was but to be honest, they weren’t really promoting my stories that much at the end any way.
The reaction to the first article post-Flavor turned out to be way better than I could have ever hoped for, being shared on Facebook well over 100 times and resulting in the best day the blog has ever had. When I ran into Jason Brown, the subject of that article, at his restaurant and explained to him what was going on, he was full of gratitude anyway. It didn’t matter to him that Flavor wasn’t posting anymore articles – he was just thankful that someone was telling his story and the story of his restaurant.
During that conversation it dawned on me and I remarked to him that “This isn’t just my blog – it’s your blog.” Jason remarked that it was yet another tool to help him and other people in the business get their message out and he’s right. After all, it’s not my story I’m telling with these articles – it’s their story – and the story of our community.
So yeah, it was a great run at Flavor 574 and I’m beyond grateful for the experience and the people I was lucky enough to meet (Marshall King is not nearly as intimidating as I thought he was – in fact, he’s actually quite fun). New business cards have been ordered and received (Thanks, Vista Print!) and my official role as chief “storyteller” at Hooch and Nosh will simply take on a more prominent role. After all, there are still stories to tell about the places we tell our stories and who better than a hack with questionable writing skills?
For a taste of some of the upcoming posts I’m working on, take a gander at the following images:
If you’re interested in being featured on this blog, please email me at tomncole (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you’re interested in guest writing for the blog, I would love to review your story ideas with you (you can reach me at the aforementioned email). You won’t be paid but it is pretty rewarding … and I might even buy you a fancy cocktail if we run into each other someday.
For a more eloquent stating of the end at Flavor 574, you can check out Marshall’s article here. I had hesitated about writing a post on the situation but his article inspired me to go ahead and put it out there. He goes into more detail about the circumstances surrounding Flavor and their future plans.