First, I want to apologize for the lack of communication over the past few days. (Note to self, do not buy an Ipad the day before flying to Chicago to attend a conference and expect to have it function like your laptop when you have no clue how to use the dang thing. Oh, and if you really want to make things challenging, forget your charge cable at home.) But, enough about me and my last-minute-Lucy tendencies. A better story is why I was in Chicago in the first place. The Windy City was the location of the 2nd annual Block by Block Community News Summit put on by Reynolds Journalism Institute. I was truly honored to not only attend but to be given a travel and accommodations scholarship to help pay my way thanks to The Patterson Foundation.
Some impressive online publishers from New Jersey who were also there include Debbie Galant from Baristanet.com, John T. Ward from RedBankGreen.com, Virginia Citrano from MyVeronaNJ.com and Krystal Knapp from PlanetPrinceton.com. It was such a treat to meet everyone in person and share our ideas on collaboration.
Now, Jersey Bites does not represent the typical Block x Block attendee. Most of the journalists there have come from print backgrounds and have started online publications in their communities in response to the lack of news in their area. In hearing their stories of 2am fires and watching as all of the community news folks faithfully filed to their rooms after a full day of sessions to get out their third story of the day, I was in awe and very glad my focus is food. As my conference mates were writing about budgets at Borough Hall, I was looking forward to dinner in downtown Chicago. I learned a lot and was able to share some of the cool things we do here on Jersey Bites. We all walked away with a tremendous amount of actionable advice and a new sense of purpose. I look forward to implementing what I learned in Chicago and watching Jersey Bites move to the next level.
Speaking of next level, this month we will finally be unveiling our Restaurant Directory. Restaurant owners will be able to list their restaurants for free and for a low monthly fee, they will be able to upload video, special deals and “Click to Call” services. We will be doing a special announcement once the directory goes live, so stay tuned.
October has always been a big month on Jersey Bites. Halloween fun is serious business and we will not be disappointing any of our eager Halloweeners. We’ll have some great recipes and party tips and if you just can’t wait to get started, step back in time with some of our fun recipes from years past to get you going.
On October 27th, I will be one of several panelist at a very special class at the Adult School of Montclair called “So You Want to Be a Food and Wine Blogger.” I will be joined by Sharla Blanz from NJMonthly’s On the Vine, Peter Conway from Mano a Vino, Sue Guerra from Gary’s Wine, Melody Kettle from HotFromtheKettle.com and Rosie Saferstein from NJMonthly’s Table Hop with Rosie. Moderator for this exciting event is Karen Schloss Diaz, food and beverage consultant, colunmist, The Montclair Times; SuzySaid.com. The cost is $20 and you can register by calling 973-746-6636 or visiting AdultSchool.org. So, if you’ve every thought about starting a blog or maybe you have a fledgling food blog and need some advice on how to grow your readership, come and join in the conversation.
Deborah Smith , Founder and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com. Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the founder of 3SquareDeals.com, a Deals program that gives back to The Community FoodBank of New Jersey and other local hunger relief programs in your neighborhood. Register Today.