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Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Bourdain’

CNN Focuses on Gap between News and Life

There was a day when a 24-hours news network sounded like a brilliant idea. We live in a complex world full of complicated events that highlight the worst and best of humanity.

From violent wars and corrupt politicians to heroic deeds and acts of selflessness, how could a network not fill its programming with constant and original news updates?

However, with the technology that allowed networks to report 24-7 from every corner of the world, we learned something very important about the public: from cuddly kittens to sickening carnage, we’ll watch the same images over and over and over and over and over again. Who needs a news cycle when you can just hit replay again and again?

The public is strongly addicted to emotional footage, and after September 11, coupling dramatic scenes and outlandish scenarios with charged commentary and paranoid speculation fractured viewers into different but loyal viewing demographics. We all know the stereotypes about the people who watch Fox News and the people who watch MSNBC, as stalwart news anchors like Brian Williams continue to scratch their heads.

Just as times were changing back then, times are changing now, and Jeff Zucker, CEO of CNN, fully understands this. Throughout the past decade the public sensibility has evolved and viewers began migrating from the constant barrage of loud news and bombastic analysis to shows that focused on the more pleasant aspects of life such as food, travel, health, history, science and reasonable opinions on real, everyday challenges.

Though yesterday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon demonstrated there will always be senseless violence and inexplicable trauma in our world, the public appears to be internalizing the frailty of life and living by the mantra we all—at least in theory—agreed to after September 11: the best revenge is living well. And now CNN’s network is beginning to reflect that with more accessible programming. Read more

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How CNN and Wired Leverage Timing, Location and Serendipity to Push Content

An eccentric tech entrepreneur turned fugitive, an abrupt change in the papacy, a Japanese tsunami – the fact that each of these stories dominated the news for days and drove a whole lot of traffic confirms that content still reigns supreme. But since every big-news scenario is different, figuring out the optimal timing, location and platforms for presenting it to the public remains an ongoing challenge for media brands.

At MPA‘s recent Swipe 2.0 conference in New York, media presenters including CNN and Wired, discussed tablets and other new digital platforms to help get the message out. CNN’s reps explained their system for categorizing video content, while Wired offered a gripping account of how their reporting on tech security pioneer John McAfee factored into the unfolding odyssey.

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Veteran Food Publicist Says Restaurants Need Better PR Strategies

In the wake of the Groupon collapse, lots of people in the restaurant industry are wondering what’s next. According to PR/food veteran Ellen Malloy, the answer is simple: Instead of focusing on “deals”, restaurants need to take charge of their brands and promotional efforts.

Malloy founded a food-focused PR firm called Restaurant Intelligence Agency in 2007 to help chefs and eateries address the same problems supposedly solved by Groupon–the challenges of connecting to “audiences that matter” and standing out in an extremely crowded field. In an interview with Grub Street Chicago, she explains what that means:

Wowing people who are sitting in your restaurant isn’t marketing strategy, that’s you doing your job. Marketing is what happens once they walk out the door. How are you going to get them back?

The appeal behind Groupon was that restaurants could publicize themselves without paying standard agency fees–the service only collected on sales. But that was also its biggest problem–businesses ran to Groupon because they had no real plan for promoting themselves, and most people who used these “coupons” never became regular customers anyway because they were only interested in getting a “deal”, so revenues remained static.

So what do chefs, restaurant managers and food PR firms need to do?

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Will Terrible Reviews Hurt the Guy Fieri Brand?

Guy FieriYesterday, quite a few food fanatics shared The New York Times writer Pete Wells’s epic takedown of Guy Fieri’s new Times Square restaurant. Wells wrote the review as a series of scathing rhetorical questions for the chain’s founder. Examples include:

  • “Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?”
  • “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?”
  • “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?”

He keeps going for two pages; it’s a little intense.

We really like Pete Wells. He’s a true “subject matter expert”, and nearly every major media outlet mentioned his review at some point over the past 48 hours.

Here’s the thing, though: his write-up (and the many other negative reviews sure to follow) probably won’t hurt the restaurant’s business or damage the multimillion dollar Fieri brand. The Guy isn’t known for the quality of his food; he’s known for being a regular Joe who shows up on TV all the time looking like a he just lost a dare involving a vat filled with Axe hair gel and bleach. The whole point of his show is that mediocre food is fun, and he’s very good at marketing and product placement.

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Why Is the Restaurant Industry Such a Boys’ Club?

There’s a reason the restaurant business plays host to so many big egos: Everybody loves fancy food, and reality TV has only encouraged the industry to grow flashier while elevating its baddest (or lamest) dudes to larger-than-life status. One question, though: Where are all the women?

Beyond April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, we can’t think of too many prominent female chefs (sorry, but Sandra Lee, Paula Deen and Rachael Ray do not count). Sure, we know that our knowledge is pretty much limited to New York, and there are quite a few very talented women running kitchens around the country right now—check out The Daily Feast’s great list of 15 “badass” female chefs—but guys’ guys like Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali still hog the lion’s share of the spotlight.

In a telling interview with the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road food blog, current James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro talks about why the industry feels like such a boys’ club—and what it will take to encourage young female chefs to take the reins and step into the spotlight. Here’s the money quote:

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Revolving Door: Jim Walton to Step Down as President of CNN Worldwide, Elizabeth Spiers Launches Startup, and More

According to Ad Age, New York Observer Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Spiers, is leaving to launch her own startup, which will focus on content and commerce in the health and wellness arena. (Ad Age

According to AdWeek, CNN has announced that Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, will step down at the end of 2012. While earnings have increased under Walton’s leadership, ratings have dropped. (AdWeek)

Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group editor Sid Evans has hired food editor Hunter Lewis away from Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit. Lewis will be executive editor at Southern Living, and will oversee food content in print and online. (AdWeek)

According to Business Insider, Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel‘s “Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations“, is leaving the Travel Channel for his own show on CNN, which will air on Sundays beginning early in 2013. To read an interview in AdWeek about why he is making the move, click here. (Business Insider)

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Revolving Door: Anthony Bourdain to CNN, Staff changes at the ‘Times-Picayune,’ and More

Anthony Bourdain is heading to CNN and CNN International for a new weekend show. The network says the new programming will “creat[e] a signature showcase for the network’s coverage of food and travel.” He’ll also be a commentator on other CNN programming. He’ll finish out his final episodes of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations and The Layover, another Travel Channel show, with those episodes to air through 2013. Bourdain will be working with the same people who helped him produce his Travel Channel shows. [via]

New Orleans Times-Picayune employees will start learning who stays and who goes on June 4 or 5. Those who stay will be offered new positions and there is talk of bringing on new hires. In addition, there have been changes in how news is being reported on the website. Last week we learned that the Times-Picayune will be published in print just three times per week, making New Orleans the largest U.S. city without a daily paper.

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Things Turning Sour On Paula Deen

Paula Deen has announced that she has Type 2 Diabetes and, certainly, everyone wishes her the best of health. However, Deen learned of her diabetes three years ago and coupled her announcement with the news that she’s now shilling for the drug company Novo Nordisk.

She went on the Today show to make this announcement, equating herself to Al Roker when he pointed out that she’s a spokesperson for the company. “Absolutely, I’ve been compensated, just as you are for your work,” she said. Ugh. Because being a reporter is the same as being a spokesperson for a drug company. Tacky, tasteless Paula Deen. The interview continues with her talking more crap. She sounds like she’s been media trained almost too well.

But many say that’s not the only tasteless thing about this situation.

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Revolving Door: A New Food Magazine, Changes at ‘Bridal Guide,’ and More

For those looking for another food outlet to pitch, news this morning is that famed pork chef David Chang, he of the delicious Momofuku restaurants, is launching a new quarterly magazine called Lucky Peach on June 22. Big names like Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain will be involved with the debut issue. And the magazine will have an iPad app come July. McSweeney’s will be publishing the magazine, so it should be an interesting read. [via FishbowlNY]

After the jump, more of this week’s media highlights from mediabistro’s Revolving Door Newsletter.

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