Are Food Writers on the Brink of Extinction?

The Twitterverse is buzzing over Amanda Hesser’s thoughtful blog post, titled “Advice for Future Food Writers,” posted yesterday. The former New York Times food writer and editor proclaims that our concept of professional food writing, as we know it, has come to an end. If you want to write about food as a professional full-time writer, Hesser says, you better try a non-traditional route.

I can no longer responsibly recommend that you drop everything to try to become a food writer. Except for a very small group of people (some of whom are clinging to jobs at magazines that pay more than the magazines’ business models can actually afford), it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a food writer, and I think it’s only going to get worse.

Food writing pays little and there are fewer positions available these days, so why not find another job in the food industry and write on the side? I must admit that Hesser’s argument is hard to disagree with, and I would’ve followed her advice had the editors at D decided to pick someone else for my position. For all I know, I could’ve been on a farm in North Carolina right now, planting strawberries. But if I were actually a farm help, I’d still be dirt poor and not any closer to becoming a food writer. John Birdsell from CHOW has a great post on “What Amanda Hesser Got Wrong.”

Do you guys think she’s right about this being a golden age for bloggers now that food writers are becoming a rare breed?