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News / Clark County News

From the Newsroom: Chewing over our food section

By Craig Brown, Columbian Editor
Published: April 21, 2018, 6:10am

If you look at my column mug, you can probably guess that I enjoy eating. Probably you do, too. That’s why food sections have been a staple of newspapers since before I started reading them. They’re still popular with readers.

That prompted a very logical question from a longtime Columbian reader, Louise Anderson: How do we decide which recipes to include? Does someone actually try them first?

Like the contents of your fridge, our food page content comes from all over. The Associated Press has quite a few recipes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of the bylines on these stories are from chefs I see on TV’s Food Network, such as Melissa d’Arabian. We use content from other wire services. And we also have some great local food bloggers whom we feature every week. Though we don’t try them all, my wife has made some of the food section recipes at home, and almost every one has been great.

Our copy editors put the section together on Fridays. They look for variety, with at least one entr?e, one side dish and a dessert. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are regularly featured. Since we eat with our eyes, we also choose recipes depending on which have the best photos.

We look for seasonal recipes to highlight what is at the peak of flavor and availability. Culture plays a part: I’ve noticed over the years that in the holiday season, we highlight a lot of the richer foods, which are quickly supplanted in January by health-conscious recipes.

Creating podcasts

One of the realities of working in journalism today is that almost no one works for “just” a newspaper or a “just” a television station. Instead, the infusion of the internet literally into our hands has created many new ways to deliver news and information. At The Columbian we have a website, an app, e-newsletters and social media outreach on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Most of these channels mirror our stories that appear in our print newspaper. You might get a video story or photo gallery to complement a print story, but there isn’t any original reporting done just for the newsletters, for example.

The exception is our podcast, Clark Talks. Currently, politics and government reporters Katy Sword and Jake Thomas are producing it monthly with help from others in the newsroom. This month, they interviewed Glen Morgan, a conservative activist from the Puget Sound area who combs Public Disclosure Commission records, looking for errors and omissions by Democrats, whom he then sues. He’s filed several of these suits in Clark County. In a previous episode, we talked with former Vancouver Congressman Brian Baird about his efforts to organize a more centrist political party.

April’s episode is No. 49. While that looks paltry compared to “The Simpsons,” for a bunch of print journalists, that’s not too bad. But we find that its audience is small yet steady, when we hoped it would be growing. That’s why I am asking you to do me a favor: Let me know what you’d like us to do. Do you listen to podcasts? Have you listened to ours? What recommendations do you have for us?

I would be grateful if you would drop me a note at craig.brown@columbian.com. And as always, thanks for reading (and listening).