‘The Daily Meal’ Editor Would ‘Never Recommend’ Freelance Food Writing as Career

When we read about this piece on JimRomenesko, we did a double-take. Kudos to the editor for being brutally honest about his thoughts on the state of freelancing writing. Or not? You be the judge.

When Dianne Jacob interviewed Coleman Andrews, editorial director at The Daily Meal, for her blog, Will Write For Food, she inquired about his stance on not paying freelance writers and as it turns out, he’s totally fine with it.

Here’s an excerpt:

Q. What’s it like to be a freelance food writer in 2012? Would you recommend it as a career?

A. I never would recommend it as a career. It’s always been difficult and demanding and a highly unpredictable way to make a career.

It’s got to be even tougher now than when it was when I did it. Most of the markets are online and most don’t pay or pay token amounts, ourselves included.

The whole nature of the way things work has changed. There’s a much larger group of people expressing their opinions. Before, when someone asked me for advice on how to be a food writer, I recommended people find someone who will publish you, build some clips, learn some specialties, approach a magazine – a very lengthy process. Now all you need to do is open a WordPress account and later that same day you’re a published food writer online.

Now people want to build their own reputations or brand, so that when someone like the Daily Meal says we have 6.3 million uniques but we can’t pay you, but it’s payment enough for people wanting to build a career, or get advertising on their blog and a book deal.

So the model seems to be different. Not only is there much more competition but much fewer daily markets.

Q. Do you feel bad about not paying people?

A. I can’t say that I do because a lot of people are more interested in the exposure than money. Most of the people writing are not exclusively freelance writers: they’re chefs, or employed in other fields, and they want to express their opinions. It’s a short step from writing a blog to when somebody says we can show you off to millions of people.

Publish date: October 11, 2012 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/the-daily-meal-editor-would-never-recommend-freelance-food-writing-as-career/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT