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Introducing Food, Borders and Belonging

An exploration of food in Detroit from the perspectives of immigrants and black Americans.

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The Makings of a Revolution

Detroit Diaries chronicles the experiences of Feet in 2 Worlds Food Journalism Fellows at WDET in Detroit. 

Growing up we moved a lot. I mean, every couple of years, if not more. A lot.

Three different elementary schools in my first four years of school. We moved every time my mom earned a new degree, every time she was hired somewhere and every time she was let go from somewhere else. It’s the cost of being a single mom, trying to raise two girls to be independent. Even though at the time — when we were on food stamps or living in Section 8 housing or forever being the new kids — it didn’t feel revolutionary.

It was the way my mom managed to find, in the pre-Amazon or Google days, bilingual picture books with illustrations of little brown and indigenous children sold in the corner of the tiny indie bookstore tucked away on the other side of town. How she told us the story of La Llorona over and over again instead of letting us watch garbage TV or scary movies. How we knew we were “Chicanas” even before we knew how to tie our shoes.

My mom was “woke” decades before that word was co-opted by wannabe social justice warriors. And it was in the way that despite all those moves across state lines that she created this Sunday ritual that revolved around packing our growing minds with knowledge. Sunday paper strewn across the floor, each of us with our respective sections (My sister and I started with the comics and the Target ads when we were really little and as each year passed we worked our way up to arts, culture, music and local news, eventually graduating to the all-important front page section). On these days, my mom sometimes liked to go for a doughnut run. And in the background — either in the kitchen from the little vintage radio that sat atop the fridge or from the dusty old speakers in the living room — our apartment would fill with the sound of public radio.

Sparking that inquisitive nature in me from an early age served me well (most of the time). It led me to be a part of the student walkout at San Fernando High my freshman year, and rallying trips to Sacramento to protest tuition hikes while a student reporter at the Valley Star. And now, years later, here I am with that public radio bug still ever-present, learning to capture natural sound and cut audio and conceptualizing scripts – telling immigrant stories through food.

In these first few weeks into the program, I’m getting to know each of the fellows, every one of us with a different back story that led us to apply to Feet In 2 Worlds. Very quickly, we’ve managed to bond over an endless text thread (no, you may not read it, fellows only). None of us are quite sure where the next step will take us. But I think in the big picture there’s this sense in all of us of wanting to disrupt the narrative that currently exists in mainstream media, of wanting — no, demanding — that we be the ones to tell our own stories.

And it reminds me of those revolutionary early days sprawled out on the floor, Sunday paper in hand, listening to public radio.

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

 

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Why I Wanted to Be a Feet in 2 Worlds Fellow

Reflections on reporting at the intersection of social justice, race and gender.

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The Fellowship is Empowering Me as an Emerging Food Journalist

 

Brittany Hutson speaks at the Fi2W food journalism workshop at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit in June 2018.

Food is my life. Whether it’s eating, cooking, baking, or reading about it – I enjoy all of it. But it wasn’t until last Fall that I realized I could combine that passion with storytelling. For a long time, my perception of food writing was mostly restaurant reviews and recipes. It seemed out of reach for me to break in to, especially because I don’t have a culinary background. That is until I met cookbook author Julia Turshen when she was promoting her book, “Feed the Resistance.” Julia’s cookbook was something that I had never seen before, but it made an impression. It was physical evidence that food can be used as a tool to talk about the human condition.

Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t want to be a journalist. The joke was on me, because that was the path I found myself on. As a student at Howard University, I joined the school newspaper. In my junior year, I changed my minor to print journalism, and landed a summer internship at Black Enterprise magazine. Back then, I wanted to use my position as a black woman to write about issues that affected the black community. But, my relationship with journalism is…complicated. It’s a love/hate type of thing. I worked as an editor for print and digital publications for a couple of years, but the instability of the industry made me hesitant about staying with it. So I’ve kept one foot in, occasionally freelancing.

This year was a turning point. I started a blog, Fed & Bougie, as a way to get my feet wet in food writing. This past June, I was a participant in the Fi2W Telling Immigrant Food Stories workshop at the Allied Media Conference. I left that workshop feeling excited and inspired for the first time in years. I learned that it’s important how food stories are being told, and who is telling them. It reminded me of the motivation I had in college. From that workshop, I got a taste of the kind of education and access Fi2W could offer me as a new food journalist.

And so, the Fi2W/WDET Food Journalism Fellowship came right on time.

I was a little apprehensive about applying. I’m a rookie in food journalism, and I have no audio experience. I doubted that I would be considered. Thankfully, I was wrong about that too. Over these next 6 months, I’m excited to learn new storytelling skills and produce new content. Especially as it relates to Detroit. As a transplant, I want to represent the residents of the city with integrity since mainstream media has failed to do so. I’m certainly stepping out of my comfort zone, learning how to handle equipment, capture sound, cut and mix audio, and write scripts. On top of all that, the most invaluable gift of this fellowship is having access to a community of journalists. That includes my co-fellows. I love that all four of us have a common purpose – to bring more diversity to local food media.

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

 

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Apply to the Feet in 2 Worlds/WDET Detroit Food Journalism Fellowship

 

The deadline to apply for this fellowship has passed.

Are you a journalist or media-maker from an immigrant background interested in covering food and related subjects in metro Detroit?

Do you want to develop your skills as a storyteller in a variety of formats including audio?

Do you have unique story ideas at the intersection of food, immigration and Detroit communities?

Feet in 2 Worlds, an award-winning website and journalism training project and WDET,  Detroit’s public radio station have teamed up to offer a limited number of food reporting fellowships to immigrant journalists and media-makers in metro Detroit. This is a unique opportunity to learn new skills while covering stories about critical issues in food including food culture in immigrant communities, child nutrition and education, labor and employment, anti-hunger efforts, sustainability, climate change and government food policies.

Fellows will work in the WDET newsroom and will be mentored by experienced audio producers. You will produce stories for Feet in 2 Worlds’ website and for broadcast on WDET and online distribution on WDET’s website.

Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis.  The fellowship starts in late September and continues to the end of 2018. This is a paid fellowship open to staff reporters and editors, and freelance journalists.  The fellowship is structured to allow maximum flexibility for journalists with full-time jobs or other obligations.

Fellows receive the following:

  •      Training in all phases of audio production for broadcast and podcast.
  •      Training in story development from concept to publication.
  •      Exposure to the WDET newsroom, and the opportunity to contribute to WDET’s on air and online streams.
  •      Training in the use of social media as a journalism tool.
  •      Access to Feet in 2 Worlds’ international network of immigrant journalists.
  •      Opportunities to pitch stories to nationally distributed public radio programs.
  •      Use of field recording equipment and access to audio editing software at WDET.
  •      A $3500 stipend.

To apply send a cover letter, your resume, samples of your work and three story ideas to contact@feetin2worlds.org.  Include the words “Detroit Food Fellowship” in the subject line of your email.

The deadline to apply is Monday, August 20th, 2018.

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

 

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Apply to be Our Next Managing Editor

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

Managing Editor, Feet in 2 Worlds

We are looking for a dynamic and versatile multi-media journalist to join our team. Feet in 2 Worlds is a small but powerful organization focused on telling the stories of today’s immigrants, and helping journalists from immigrant backgrounds improve their skills and reach new audiences on public radio and the web. The managing editor is involved in a wide range of activities including planning, assigning and editing stories for our on-line magazine, supporting and mentoring journalists in the Fi2W fellowship program, overseeing our social media streams, planning live events and workshops, and working with our media partners in public radio, print and online journalism.

Founded in 2004, Feet in 2 Worlds offers fellowships and workshops to both established and emerging immigrant journalists, and produces stories and podcasts. Areas of special interest include: telling immigrant food stories, politics from the perspective of immigrant voters, arts and culture in immigrant communities, and the connection between migration and climate change.

Feet in 2 Worlds is based at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School in New York City.

The managing editor is a part-time position (20 hours per week). We are hiring initially for a period of three to four months, with the potential for on-going employment. The managing editor may work remotely or at The Center for New York City Affairs.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities Include

  • Contribute ideas for all aspects of the project in all its forms: reported stories, social media content, workshops and live events.
  • Work with and provide support to journalists from a range of backgrounds and a range of journalism experience to produce content for Fi2W and our media partners.
  • Edit stories in a variety of formats (text, audio, multi-media and video) for content, clarity, style and accuracy.
  • Work with our media partners on the development of reporting projects and to expand the audience for stories produced by Fi2W.
  • Develop original content for Fi2W.org, the Fi2W podcast, and social media.
  • Administrative tasks as needed.

Required Qualifications:

  • At least five years’ experience in a fast-paced, idea-driven media environment.
  • Demonstrated engagement with issues of importance to immigrant communities.
  • Superb writing skills showing originality and creativity – experience writing for broadcast strongly preferred.
  • Proficiency with audio recording, microphones and recorders, and audio editing in Audition and/or ProTools.
  • Production experience with multimedia (image and/or video) preferred.
  • Experience working with freelancers in an editorial capacity preferred.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Proficiency with a range of social media platforms and awareness of new platforms.
  • Creative problem-solving in editing stories and interviews.
  • Familiarity with content management systems (basic knowledge of HTML preferred).
  • Excellent communication skills, written and spoken.
  • Proficiency in multiple languages preferred.
  • Effective time-management and ability to produce excellent work on deadline.
  • Ability to collaborate closely with others and thrive in a team environment.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

To apply please send a cover letter, your resume and samples of your work to Contact@feetin2worlds.org. Include the words “Fi2W Managing Editor” in the subject line of your email.