Gourmet's problem was print

amandahesserforbes.jpgFood writer Amanda Hesser, who may be a partisan about this as a longtime print scribe transitioning to online, says Gourmet magazine's content was fine. It just existed in the wrong medium, she argues in a commentary posted at Forbes.

In the decade that globe-trotting Ruth Reichl ran Gourmet, she moved the magazine from a luxury publication that preyed on our aspirations to one that delivered each serving of decadence with a soupcon of something provocative--articles on the life of a chicken, poorly-treated tomato laborers and the troubled fish industry in the Gulf of Mexico, the ethical and cultural topics that have electrified the food world over the past decade. In Reichl's new world, you could have your Ferran Adria, as long as you tasted some Michael Pollan.

Under the stewardship of Reichl, there was nothing wrong with Gourmet's content. What was wrong with the magazine was its medium: print. The food world is fast moving now, and no matter how well-written and captivating an article on artisan butchers might be, by the time the magazine arrived in its glossy cloak with the cursive logo, the stories felt sleepy and quaint.

She calls Gourmet's website, which remains online, "handsome and sleek, but it is like an insect in amber--an object to admire, impossible to touch."

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