Spice up food journalism with multimedia and interactivity

As newspapers and magazines shrink and the resources of television and radio stations dwindle, food journalism is often the first section to get the boot. The web, however, presents a unique opportunity to explore food, recipes, and cooking in new and captivating ways.

For example, this past Thanksgiving, The New York Times served up one of its signature interactive projects that visualized what people are eating. The map illustrates what classic holiday dishes are most popular in various sections of the U.S. The Times Online tracked what Britain eats in an interactive infographic that measures the popularity of certain foods over time.

To track the location of local farmers markets, The Washington Post created an interactive online map that readers can use to track local food and produce. If you prefer your vegetables on a burger or burrito, you can also use fastfoodmap.com — an interactive map of the locations of McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and more — to satisfy your food cravings.

CHOW.com, a site for recipes and other food-related resources, also has a mix of food-related video that teach users to make food and other stuff. In just a few minutes, you can learn to how to fold a wonton, how to prevent an avocado from browning, and how to clean a cast iron pan.

Food journalism and especially recipe guides are ripe for slideshows. BBC News paired photos and audio to explore the wild, yet edible foods found in the British countryside. The Times-Picayune whipped up “12 Dishes Under $12” a video guide to great dishes from local restaurants. DNAinfo.com, the newly launched hyperlocal site covering the NYC borough of Manhattan, recently presented an interactive slideshow of dishes available during the city’s restaurant week.

Food journalism, as with all news subjects, can be invigorated with a little bit of multimedia and a lot of creativity, which in the end makes the topic more interesting for readers and viewers.

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