In case you missed it, the only major critic lacing up at press time a decent review of The Cobbler is the normally acid-tongued New York Observer critic.
How is that possible? Nostalgia, most likely. Reaction to any given movie has a lot to do with the mood the viewer was in at the time of viewing. Evidently, RR wandered took a path to his seat (or screener) straight through memory lane. Check out the opening of his write-up:
The Cobbler is the kind of fanciful New York fable Ben Hecht and Damon Runyon used to tell in books and syndicated newspaper columns back in the day.
That sound you hear in the ether-distance is the rumble of a combined Hecht-Runyon WTF!? Dustin Hoffman appears briefly in the movie as Sandler’s dad. FishbowlNY would have preferred a montage cameo shot of Jon Voight, triggered by cobbler Max Simkin trying on a pair of well-worn cowboy boots.
Here’s a look at the posts that made the most buzz the past seven days.LA Times Hire Sets The Stage for Epic Karaoke Battle Colin Jost Trips Over Penis Joke NY Times Didn’t Crop Bush Out of A1 Photo Andrea Peyser to Lena Dunham: Good Riddance! A Prescient Brian Williams Onion Story
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One of the great joys of IMDb is to scan down to the bottom of an actor or director’s credits list to drink in the modest career starting point. Unfortunately, the information is not always correct.
During a HuffPost Live interview today with Josh Zepps, actor and Daily Show alum Robb Corddry fielded a question from community member Luke Y. Thompson, EIC of Village Voice Media property toplessrobot.com. When Corddry was asked what he remembered about his first IMDb listed role – Man at Party in a 1995 episode of The Nanny – he responded:
\"I either blacked it all out, or it’s a mistake on IMDb. And I’m pretty sure it was the latter. That didn’t happen, and I have not taken any pains to get it changed, because I get that question all the time and I love it.\"
Corddry went on to tell Thompson that if the journalist or one of his readers can track down the non-existent episode, he will take note. The call has quickly been put out.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
IMDb Puts Erroneous John August Projects in Turnaround
Actor James Marsden in the Middle of More Barry Manilow Funny Business
[Photo of Corddry at February 18, 2015 LA premiere of Hot Tub Time Machine 2: Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.com]
Crazy cat owners, your time has come. Gone are the days when it was cool to put a rat-sized dog in a purse. Now, according to People.com senior editor Saryn Chorney, it’s much more hip to walk around with a cat.
“Purse dogs had a good run, but these days cats are the new street-style stars, thanks to celeb kitty owners like Taylor Swift and Kesha,” explained Chorney.
Sure, thanks to them. But to you, too, Chorney. Without wisdom like this, we’d all be unaware that it’s finally socially acceptable to carry a cat around like a furry, annoying sack of potatoes.
This is why we have magazines. For moments like this. God bless America.
(h/t: Allie Jones)
Friday the 13th: Part III may have been released on a Friday the 13th. And today’s look-back by The Week entertainment editor Scott Meslow may also be calendar correct. But the film itself actually takes place on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th.
To coincide with recent unlucky Fridays, Meslow has been revisiting the Jason franchise in series order. Towards the end of today’s re-review of the 1982 film, he suggests that this third series installment, despite some small-screen 3D issues, looks good in the rear-view mirror:
As the years have passed, the film’s shaggier qualities have turned out to be an asset. Viewed in 2015, Friday the 13th Part III is an under-sung camp classic — cornier and goofier than either of its predecessors.
If you’re hungry for more double-down Friday the 13th journalism, website fridaythe13thfranchise.com has some never-before-seen stills from the 1982 film, Business Insider a sampling of corny dialogue and Wired, in the shadow of today’s 20-hour EPIX marathon, the binge-watch crib notes.
P.S. Video game developer NetherRealm also took advantage of today’s date to announce that Jason Voorhees will be a character in the next Mortal Kombat game.
[Image courtesy: Paramount Pictures]
Vice has named four new contributing editors to its team — Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, Molly Crabapple, Christopher Ketcham and Clancy Martin.
Friedman-Rudovsky was most recently a freelance journalist. She previously worked as a reporter for Time. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Science, Foreign Policy and more.
Crabapple was most recently a columnist for Vice.
Ketcham was most recently a freelance writer. His work has appeared in Vice, Harper’s and more.
Clancy is a Canadian philosopher, novelist and essayist.
Kerry Washington is Marie Claire’s latest cover star. As you can see, she’s looking more herself than when she graced the front of InStyle last month:
When InStyle’s Washington cover hit newsstands, readers criticized the magazine for “whitening” the actress.
InStyle apologized, and put the blame on the photographer. “While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern,” a statement from the mag’s editors explained.
Let the record show that Marie Claire’s lighting — and perhaps, its photographer — is more reliable than InStyle’s.
According to Capital New York, computers at the NYPD’s headquarters have been used to edit Wikipedia entries on NYPD corruption, alleged murders and more. Ladies and gentlemen, New York’s finest (at wiping its dirty history clean).
The NYPD’s computers were tracked by IP addresses. In all, there were 85 IP addresses linked to the NYPD’s computer network. Those computers attempted to edit and even delete Wiki entries on people who were killed by NYPD officers, such as Eric Garner and Sean Bell.
Capital tracked the following edits to Garner’s Wiki page, made by NYPD computers:\"Garner raised both his arms in the air\" was edited to \"Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.\" “[P]ush Garner’s face into the sidewalk\" was changed to “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.” “Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” was changed to “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.” “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was added. “Chokehold” was replaced twice, once to “chokehold or headlock” and again to “respiratory distress.”
NYPD computers also made edits to pages on stop-and-frisk and the department’s leadership team.
This is just absolutely horrible. As if we needed another reason to be scared of the city’s police.
But hey, don’t worry too much. An NYPD spokesperson told Capital “The matter is under internal review.” That certainly makes us feel better.
Now that Richard Battista is settling into Time Inc.’s newly-created role of president of People and EW, the publisher has moved on to its next search. According to The New York Post, Time Inc. is looking to hire a group president of Time, Fortune and Money. Sports Illustrated might also be included.
Currently those titles all report to Time Inc. executive vice president Evelyn Webster. Since Webster already has women’s titles reporting to her, hiring someone to take Time, Fortune and Money off of her hands would free up some of her time.
Webster also prefers to have one team of publishers heading up ad sales while group presidents concentrate on ways to generate revenue specific to their brands.
Atlantic Media’s business site Quartz has promoted Zach Seward to VP of product and executive editor. He most recently served as product director and senior editor.
“This move reflects Zach’s responsibility for a broad range of Quartz’s operations from its earliest days through today, and his central role in our editorial strategy and product advancements going forward,” wrote Kevin Delaney, Quartz’s editor, in a memo to staff. “It further formalizes Zach’s senior role in Quartz’s leadership, and responsibility for journalistic and product innovation, growth, and overall excellence.”
Seward has been with Atlantic Media since 2012.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman Out at NBC News (TVNewser)
NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman is leaving the network. Snyderman announced Thursday that she is leaving NBC News to take a faculty position at a medical school. THR / The Live Feed “I stepped out of the OR a few years ago and it is now time for me to return to my roots, so I am stepping down from my position as chief medical editor at NBC News,” Snyderman said in a statement. “Covering the Ebola epidemic last fall in Liberia, and then becoming part of the story upon my return to the U.S., contributed to my decision that now is the time to return to academic medicine.” HuffPost Snyderman’s departure comes just a few months after the network reprimanded her for breaking an Ebola quarantine. After returning from a reporting trip to Liberia, Snyderman was spotted getting takeout from a restaurant in New Jersey. She was placed on \"family leave\" for a month and a half, after which she apologized on Today. The Washington Post She never covered Ebola news again. Snyderman worked for NBC News for nine years and, before that, had been a medical correspondent for ABC News. She also had been an executive at Johnson & Johnson, managing consumer education. NYT Snyderman’s departure is the latest shake-up at the NBC News group in recent weeks, as the network has been in engulfed in crisis involving the news anchor Brian Williams. Last week, NBCUniversal hired Andrew Lack to lead its news division, the first step in a major restructuring of the executive ranks. Williams, meanwhile, is on a six-month suspension after he admitted that he had misled viewers with a story about a helicopter incident in Iraq. Lack officially starts in April but was aware of Snyderman’s departure from the network.
Univision’s Rodner Figueroa Fired Over Racist Comment Toward Michelle Obama (HuffPost)
Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired Wednesday after comparing first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance to that of someone from the cast of the Planet of The Apes. PRNewser Figueroa was fired after a segment on live television where he said, \"Well, watch out, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s from the cast of Planet of The Apes, the movie.\" Figueroa, Univision’s (former) host of entertainment news show El Gordo Y La Flaca, was sent out the door almost immediately. TVNewser Figueroa has written a public letter to First Lady Michelle Obama, asking for her forgiveness. In the letter, he insists his comment was never intended to be interpreted about Obama herself, but rather the makeup artist’s poor effort to copy the First Lady’s look. Figueroa writes that while nobody at Univision objected initially to his comment, he was called and fired after the network received a complaint from Mrs. Obama’s office. THR Figueroa, who in 2014 won a Daytime Emmy Award, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. He worked for Univision for 17 years and had been on El Gordo Y La Flaca since 2000.
FNC Hires ‘The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden’ (TVNewser)
Fox News has hired former U.S. Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill as a contributor, offering military expertise and analysis. O’Neill is best known for being profiled in the FNC documentary, The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden. FishbowlDC He is FNC’s second contributor hire in recent days with Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., being brought on board last week. Variety During his career in the Navy, O’Neill served as a team leader within the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six, and completed more than 400 different combat missions within four theaters of war. O’Neill has flirted with greater fame since leaving the military. He did an anonymous interview with Esquire magazine in 2013 about the fateful bin Laden raid and took part in the Fox News special last year. His disclosures — and those of another Navy SEAL, Matt Bissonette — have fueled debate over whether military personnel engaged in some of the nation’s most critically important national-security initiatives ought to be recognized for their service or keep the details of their roles in clandestine operations from public scrutiny.
Kathy Griffin Flees Fashion Police After Seven Episodes (THR / The Live Feed)
Fashion Police is now down two panelists. Just weeks after the exit of longtime cast member Kelly Osbourne, Kathy Griffin has announced her own departure — breaking the news in a long Twitter missive late Thursday afternoon. “After seven episodes of Fashion Police, I discovered that my style does not fit with the creative direction of the show and now it’s time to move on,” she wrote, before wishing producers and the network well. Mediaite \"I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance toward difference,\" Griffin said, perhaps pointing to recent criticism the show has received. Griffin’s announcement comes just a couple of weeks after her Fashion Police colleague Giuliana Rancic came under fire for making what many viewed as a racist comment towards Disney Channel star Zendaya. Deadline Much more a vet than Griffin of the show once led by Joan Rivers, Osbourne walked away from her co-hosting perch of five years on Feb. 27. Osbourne’s departure followed her outrage at Rancic’s comments. Rancic later apologized for her remarks, which Osbourne seemed to accept, but she left soon afterward anyway.
Good Morning America Will ‘Yahoo! Your Day’ (TVNewser)
The Yahoo! placards were flying outside Good Morning America ahead of an announcement of an expanded ABC/Yahoo! partnership. Starting Monday, Yahoo! editors will begin appearing more frequently on GMA to, as ABC calls it, \"Yahoo! Your Day.\" Variety The deal is designed for both sides to expand the reach of their content as media audiences become more splintered. Katie Couric’s involvement would also seem to put to rest speculation that the former Today anchor might be heading back to NBC amid the shakeup at NBC News. Deadline Yahoo! Screen and Yahoo! TV will feature \"special clips\" from Disney/ABC shows including Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Dancing With The Stars. THR / The Live Feed The GMA segment will each day feature Yahoo! editors and experts, including style editor Joe Zee, beauty editor Bobbi Brown and food editor Kerry Diamond. Flickr images will be integrated into GMA weather reports and Tumblr will be featured in the morning show’s Social Square. The companies also will develop a more robust partnership on major news events, including the 2016 presidential election.
Author Terry Pratchett Has Died (GalleyCat)
Fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett has died. He was 66 years old and suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. CNN Pratchett, who wrote more than 70 books, including those in his “Discworld” series, had been diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. Pratchett continued to write following his diagnosis, completing his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014. NYT He became Sir Terry when Queen Elizabeth II knighted him as 2008 turned to 2009. In a Twitter post on Thursday, David Cameron, the British prime minister, said Pratchett had \"fired the imagination of millions\" with his books and had \"fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.\"
HuffPost Adds Scott Conroy (FishbowlNY)
The Huffington Post has named Scott Conroy senior political reporter, focusing on the 2016 presidential election. Conroy comes to HuffPost from RealClearPolitics, where he worked for the previous four years. FishbowlDC Conroy began his career in political journalism covering the 2008 presidential campaign for CBS News as an embedded reporter on the Romney and Palin planes, and was a contributor to the network’s 2012 election coverage.
Jay Penske Makes His First Major WWD Move (FishbowlNY)
Fairchild Fashion Media owner Jay Penske has been spending a great majority of his media-calendar time recently not on Deadline or Variety but rather WWD. And he has chosen to do with the 105-year-old fashion industry bible what he did not so long ago with his 110-year-old showbiz bible. New York Post WWD cutting its print frequency from daily to weekly and focusing on its Web presence. The final daily print issue will be April 24. WWD print subscribers will get the weekly edition as well as the Daily Digital, which will be delivered via email each day, starting April 29.
Lionsgate to Get $375 Million in Production Financing From China’s Hunan TV (Variety)
China’s powerhouse broadcaster Hunan TV plans to give Lionsgate $375 million in production funding, in a deal that would represent the largest Chinese investment in Hollywood filmmaking to date. THR The agreement, which gets Hunan TV into the U.S. market through Lionsgate, includes film production and distribution, and will be unveiled on March 18 in Changsha. The Asian investment is expected to account for 25 percent of the film production costs incurred by the mini-studio in the next three years, with total budgets to run to $1.5 billion.
Viacom Agrees to Pay $7.2 Million to End Internship Lawsuit (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
Viacom will be putting up more than $7.2 million to end a lawsuit over unpaid internships. If approved by a New York federal judge, the settlement will represent the most amount of money ever set aside to resolve labor claims on the internship front.
Andy Samberg to Host 2015 Emmys (THR / The Live Feed)
Fox and the TV Academy’s choice for this year’s Emmy host is Andy Samberg. The actor and comedian, star of the network’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, will emcee the live awards show on Sept. 20 — marking his first time hosting a major television event.
MSNBC to Launch Daily Facebook Videos (Variety)
MSNBC’s two newest programs won’t be seen first on the cable news network. In the latest example of so-called \"traditional\" news outlets casting about for audience in new ways, the NBCUniversal-owned outlet will produce two daily videos that appear on Facebook before they surface anywhere else.
ITV Acquires The Voice Creator Talpa for Up to $1.17 Billion (Variety)
The U.K.-based broadcast, production and distribution group ITV has acquired John de Mol’s entertainment show producer Talpa Media, which is the creator of singing competition format The Voice.
Robin Thicke, Pharrell’s Lawyer to Appeal ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict (THR / Hollywood, Esq.)
The attorney who represented Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the “Blurred Lines” case said he would be appealing the verdict handed down on Tuesday.
James Carville to Write for Media Matters (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
James Carville, the longtime Clinton loyalist and Democratic strategist, will write a recurring guest column for Media Matters for America, the liberal watchdog announced on Thursday.
On Twitter, 32-year-old media exec Noah Szubski comically boasts that he can \"bench press the entire Internet, 25 times, without a spotter.\" However, when it comes to spotting his beloved Doberman Cash, he has been forced to engage an attorney.
There are unusual kibbles and bits in Daily News reporter Barbara Ross‘ account of what transpired in court today. Ignoring for a moment the fact that Robert Conrad, the father of Szbuski’s ex Chelsea, is in fact still alive, here are three of our takeaways:
1) Ross makes mention of several apartment particulars that are oh-so New York. Conrad showed her commitment to Cash by paying a $15,000 dog damage deposit at her new place; and, she could not bring home the second formerly shared pet Bernie, a French bulldog, for fear of breaking her one-dog-only lease clause and losing her pad.
2) After the couple broke up last October, Noah’s dad sympathized with her, reportedly acknowledging in an email just how “controlling” Szubski can be.
3) The Daily News headline gives Cash a little bit too much IQ credit by suggesting the dog is “in Hiding.” More accurately, he is being hidden and likely has no idea why.
Next hearing: April 3.[Image via: @noahrs]
TVNewser: The Weather Channel has a new weekend lineup of shows that will do their best to make you scared to go outside.
SocialTimes: A class action lawsuit against Facebook will remind you to never, ever let your kid use your computer.
FishbowlDC: Let’s be honest, we all knew Michele Bachmann would one day star in a Sharknado sequel.
A couple of noteworthy things happened last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live at the outset of Liam Neeson’s appearance in support of Run All Night.
Firstly, Manny Pacquaio was in attendance, goofing stage-left with Guillermo after a press conference earlier in the day at LA’s Club Nokia promoting the May 2 bout with Floyd Mayweather. As Neeson explained, even though he narrated the 2014 Pacquaio feature documentary Manny, last night in Hollywood was the first time he met the Filipino superstar. Neeson, a huge boxing fan, confessed that in that moment he was genuinely nervous.
Neeson said he hopes to be in Vegas for the big fight, provided he can get away from a movie shoot scheduled through the end of April in Taiwan with Martin Scorsese. This is the second time Neeson has worked with the famed director; when Kimmel asked whether the first time, Gangs of New York,was a \"dream\" and \"like meeting a hero,\" Neeson was refreshingly frank.
The best part of that chunk of the conversation is Kimmel’s delight in Neeson’s answer. When you’ve heard as many rote industry cheers as this Jimmy has, it’s nice to have an A-list guest straightforwardly change it up. That portion of the conversation starts above at the 1:45 mark.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Legend of the Alabama Leprechaun
Time’s latest cover features the silhouette of Hillary Clinton and — because of how she’s standing — a vague appearance of horns on her head. The Internet (mostly bored conservatives) noticed this and pointed it out. However, as Time noted, “Any resemblance to cats, bats or devil horns is entirely coincidental.”
You see, Time is spelled with an ‘m.’ It is! Look it up! Because of the way the letter ‘m’ is shaped it can often give the magazine’s cover subjects a set of horns.
In fact, Time has even provided a slideshow of 34 other horned cover stars, from Margaret Thatcher to Russell Crowe to George W. Bush.
They meant the horns for Crowe. Of course.
Ryan Fagan, who covers Major League Baseball and college basketball for The Sporting News, went the extra mile recently while digging through his publication’s archives. He decided to track down the individual who wrote a letter-to-the-editor back the mid-1970s correcting a misspelling of Coach K’s last name Krzyzewski.
The article in question was the very first time the future Duke maestro was covered in The Sporting News. Luckily for Fagan, the writer of the letter also has a fairly unique last name – Byzina – so it wasn’t too hard to track down and telephone:
After introducing myself, I said, “This is going to sound like a strange question, but do you remember if you wrote a letter to the editor of The Sporting News back in 1975 after we’d misspelled Mike Krzyzewski’s name in the magazine?”
I felt pretty confident I had the right guy, but I wasn’t expecting his answer.
“I probably did,” the voice on the other end laughed. “I mean, he is my cousin.”
Not long after the letter was sent and published, Rich Byzina and his wife traveled to Manhattan after watching cuzz’s Army team take on West Point, for a visit included a memorable Broadway celeb sighting. The Sporting News switched to digital-only in 2013.
Entertainment Weekly has promoted Meeta Agrawal from executive editor to deputy editor. Agrawal served as exec editor for only one month. Prior to that role, she oversaw EW’s TV department. Agrawal has been with the magazine since 2007.
In other EW news, the magazine has named Gillian Telling senior editor, TV. Telling most recently served as a staff editor at People. She previously served as Budget Travel’s editor-in-chief. Telling begins March 16.
Gina McIntyre is also joining EW as news director, movies. McIntyre comes to EW from Hero Complex, where she served as editor. She previously worked for The LA Times.
The chief curator position at The Hyde Collection has been vacant since last summer. And just this week, the director of this Glens Falls, New York museum announced he is leaving.
Still firmly in place is a photo collection generously donated last year by ABC newsman George Stephanopoulos. This week, the Hyde announced that starting March 21, portions of the collection will be on display for the first time:
The photographic prints in the exhibition are a sampling of over 120 works recently donated by Stephanopoulos and his family. Some of these photographers consider themselves artists; others, photojournalists. Still others call themselves working photographers…
Make no mistake, however, the photographers in this exhibition are all artists of the highest order, recognized by curators, dealers, collectors, art historians and their peers worldwide. Their work represents a wide range of artistic expression and subject matter, from political celebrities to working people, from everyday studio portraits to the dark side of street life, from landscapes to cityscapes, and from botanicals to sunsets .
The exhibition was partially underwritten by the New York State Council on the Arts and features as its main sponsor Saratoga Living magazine. The image shown in the promotional materials above is of a New Year’s Eve party, shot by Larry Fink.
The first thing you notice when you head to tastingtable.com is — as it should be — the food. Your eye immediately falls on and lingers over the site’s scroll of photos rotating through verdant swirls of pasta, pies resting on generous portions of whipped cream and perfectly seared steaks, all taken in house. As robust as the site is, the roots of Tasting Table are not Web-based but email-based. From its 2008 launch as a newsletter, the brand didn’t take long to grow its audience. With well over a million subscribers today and a reputation as an authority on restaurants and recipes, always carefully and conscientiously vetted by staff, Tasting Table’s ambitions are widening accordingly.
Editor-in-chief Kat Kinsman arrived in November, at a time when the organization has been expanding its presence, moving from an inbox-only phenomenon to a full-fledged Web destination. Kinsman is a bridge between two worlds, and her early thoughts on new content ideas for Tasting Table hint at an effort to merge where she came from to where she has landed. Her work at the helm of CNN’s Eatocracy blog found her chasing food stories with a harder-news edge, like the science behind ready-to-eat pizza produced for soldiers stationed overseas, or a salmonella-poisoning outbreak at a prison. Now, she finds herself heading an organization whose purpose it is to select and share the finest foods on offer across the country.
“I made sure that we’re still going to be able to hit on hunger and food justice and the not-so-lovely and Instagram-able side of the food world, because you can’t write about all this beauty and this indulgence… without paying attention to the fact that there are an awful lot of people who are not getting enough food. That balance is going to be interesting, but I have complete confidence that we can pull it off.”
When we caught up with Kinsman, not only was she in the first weeks of her new job, she was in the final few weeks of completing the manuscript for her first book, on the topic of anxiety. “I hope this book is going to help people realize they’re not alone, that they’re free to talk about mental health,” she told FishbowlNY.
We asked Kinsman about her frenetic first weeks and future plans for Tasting Table.
FBNY: You were brought on at a time when Tasting Table was looking to expand in a lot of different formats. What are you focusing on right now?
Kinsman: My bent has always been food news and culture and where that intersects from person to dish to farmer — where the human touch is in food. It’s a really great thing to be able to meld that with the very dish- and cooking- and chef-focused content they’re doing.
I’m going to come up with more regular series’ of content and define what those are going to be. People will be able to really become invested in particular franchises, whether it’s technique based, whether it’s people’s motivation for getting into food, whether it’s practical advice for getting the best possible restaurant experience you can. It’s going to have a lot of perspective to it, whether it is from the person making the food, the person serving the food, the person going out to eat the food.[Tasting Table has] established such a tremendous look, such a tremendous visual feel of what the story is like, so we’re going to keep going with so much of that, double down possibly on that, and just figure out how we’re going to look to tell the stories. What I think I’m probably going to be doing is adding a little bit more personal connection to it, a little bit more fun narrative flow and see where we go from there.
FBNY: What has been your relationship with Tasting Table readers so far?
Kinsman: I’ve gotten to personally meet a lot of readers just over the past couple of weeks, introducing chefs and hosting dinners at the test kitchen, and that’s been a tremendous insight to actually physically get to sit down with readers over a great meal and hear what it is they love about Tasting Table.
These people are so fantastically passionate about what we’re doing. People have come up to me and said ‘I don’t go to a restaurant without checking to see what you guys have said.’ It’s really one of the first times I’ve met an audience that is so directly connected to the content.
I really value the fact that they trust us. So I want to listen to that and see what is working really well and resonating with them. They’ve been following those emails for a long time. I want to make the website more robust and somewhere they can really feel like they’re hanging out in our kitchen at a party of ours.
FBNY: You’d been a subscriber to Tasting Table before joining the staff. Are there things that, once you were on the other side, surprised you about the operation?
Kinsman: I had absolutely no idea the staff was as small as it is and that they do things in such a scrappy, wonderful way. I would look at those photographs, and drool on my phone. I assumed there was some sort of big production studio, that there was a dedicated room with a light setup. No. This team puts paper on a table, sets it up, lights it a little bit, shoots it back by the window — and they’re young and they’re talented and they’re driven and they’re executing all this stuff on such a beautiful, high-gloss, premium level. They’re just putting it together out of passion, out of skill, and making the most of what they can.[The staff] is this onion that is being un-layered right now. Someone will say something, and it just opens this rabbit hole to who they are or what they do. I’ve been scheduling little meetings with them to sit down and say, ‘Let me know who you are, what you love to do, how can I help you tell more of the stories you want to tell.’
FBNY: What do you find to be the most challenging thing about covering food?
Kinsman: There’s so much of it. [At] CNN we [had] such a large scope of content. My job there was really interesting, especially since I started doing all of these stories that had nothing to do with food. When I was there, it was a matter of covering all the different aspects of food because we would be doing everything from food-culture stories, talking to multigeneration farmers and the challenges they’re up against, to breaking news about food to whatever Gordon Ramsey happened to do that day. It’s easy to feel like you’re on a hamster wheel with that kind of news pace.
At Tasting Table, it’s been really cool to go back down to the dish level, which I’d actually missed, and branch out from that into the people around it and retraining myself about how I’m thinking about food. Over here, I have the chance to come at it from a proactive point of view. We’re not just flinching and reacting and bracing and then moving on to the next thing.
FBNY: What advice would you give people who want to go into food writing or food media in general?
Kinsman: Ask yourself what’s the story only you can tell, and really figure out what your point of view is going to be and bring that to as many pieces as you possibly can. Don’t be afraid to let you shine through. All the food writers I read are people who, I can start reading a piece, not even see the byline and know whose it is and that’s because they let a little bit of themselves into their writing without making the story about themselves necessarily. And that only comes from working really, really, really hard and trusting what you have to say.
And be a utility player. Be as flexible as humanly possibly. You need me to go profile this chef? Yes, of course I’ll go do that. You need me to call around to all of these different restaurants and see if they have a kale salad on the menu? Yes, go ahead and do that. Nobody can be above doing anything. So long as you can kind of do both of those parts, be a generalist and be specific, they’re going to find a place for you, somewhere.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.