Tag: Food journalism fellowships

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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.