We hear that print media is dying; bleeding into the online world of citizen journalism that will eventually supersede it. Yet shockingly, amid the panic, cookbook sales are on the rise. Particularly those from food bloggers. We live in an age where for the first time ever, individuals are able to establish a writing career through self-publishing – the traditional barriers of entering the print media world seemingly gone for good. Though the startling irony is that most of these success stories will inevitably end in a book deal. Back to print media. Back to the traditional; a full circle. Look at Katie Quinn Davies, the Sydney food blogger who recently had her book published in four languages. There are many , many very similar stories.
Rather than replacing traditional journalism, such participatory media can serve as a facilitator for entering traditional editorial style journalism. Food blogs might take the hard work out of searching for a recipe, but perhaps won’t seem as credible, and perhaps won’t offer the same high standards of consistency in language and style achieved through vigorous editing. There is something to be said for something that has been slowly perfected, something that is finite. People can tell if something is written by a professional or an amateur. In a fast moving world where online content can be edited and re-edited again, readers can take solace in something that isn’t going to change again. It is what it is. Perhaps this is a passing phase, perhaps this soaring of cookbook sales is merely a by-product of this so-called age of gastronomy, or perhaps, nothing will ever replace a shelf of thick, well-worn, dog-eared cookbooks that you can hold in your hands, splatter gravy upon and hand down to your daughters. And yet for now, rather than replacing traditional media, we see citizen journalism, at least in the area of food, complement it, and enrich our media environment, that is now multifaceted as much as it is democratic.