Back in May, when I announced that I was leaving POLITICO to launch something new – amid peak insanity over the ongoing infant formula shortage – folks were mostly encouraging. But I definitely got quite a few questions about why I would do such a thing.
I founded Food Fix because I saw a need that wasn’t being met. Food policy is usually seen as a niche beat that’s not worthy of much coverage or investment in newsrooms. But many of these issues are actually mainstream — and they matter to our health and wellbeing as much as any other policy area.
From political fights over what foods are served to millions of kids at school to questions about how FDA will handle a wave of food innovation flowing out of Silicon Valley, these policies don’t just affect the trillion-dollar food industry: They affect every single one of us.
I believe there is demand for more focused, deeper coverage of these topics both in Washington and outside the Beltway, where consumers are increasingly interested in what they’re eating, where it comes from and who’s making sure it’s safe. Food Fix aims to serve both audiences.
Food Fix will be free to everyone in August. Come September, I will offer paid subscriptions for Tuesday’s newsletter – the more insider-focused, in-depth content, delivered once a week – as well as a Friday newsletter that will remain free. Paid subscribers will get both editions each week.
I hope you’ll join me! And please, in the meantime, send me a note about what you want to see covered here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. I have received so many questions about why I am doing this and how I’m doing it, so I compiled a Frequently Asked Questions section here to attempt to answer some of the most common.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this on Substack?
No. Funny, this is one of the most-asked Qs I’ve gotten! I think Substack has done a lot to change the paradigm around independent, paid media – which is great – but Food Fix lives on its own website. All content will be pushed out via email in an easy-to-read format. It’s a similar user experience, but not on the Substack platform.
I want to subscribe to the paid version. How do I do that?
You can do this right now by going here. If you subscribe in the next few weeks, you’ll get a month added to your annual subscription.
This month, Food Fix will be offered for free to everyone. You will get an email when that intro period ends, and you’ll be able to subscribe as an individual or as a group. There are special rates for readers in academia and government. Becoming a paid subscriber is the best way to make sure you don’t miss any of my in-depth reporting!
What topics will Food Fix cover?
The overall focus is food policy in Washington, with a special eye toward this new wave of food innovation. If you were following my work before, it’s basically the same beat: Federal nutrition programs (SNAP, school meals, WIC, etc.), Dietary Guidelines, food safety, FDA, USDA, food labeling, health, sustainability and climate. Early on, I’ll be focusing on major trends and upcoming events such as the White House conference on food, slated for September; FDA’s persistent food policy woes; and of course, the ongoing infant formula shortage.
Will you still be writing for national publications?
Yes! I am still freelancing some bigger pieces for Politico on topics with broader consumer or political interest. I’ll be sure to flag those pieces in the newsletter so no one misses any of my reporting. I’m also talking to several other major outlets about writing bigger features. If you are an editor and want to talk about a potential project, get in touch: email@example.com
Is Food Fix run by you, or do you have a team?
For now, Food Fix is a one-reporter operation with lots of help from some super smart consultants, designers and contractors, including a stable of skilled editors.
Why are you charging a premium for a paid subscription?
I want Food Fix to be a sustainable business. Subscription/membership fees will help me pay freelance editors and illustrators, cover travel for stories, pay for the overhead expenses of running this thing, and pay me for my time.
It’s important to remember that without a viable business model, we won’t have independent media anymore – and that’s really scary. Look at what has happened to local newspapers. We are worse off as a country because these business models didn’t or couldn’t adapt to the digital landscape.
While Food Fix has a premium price point, it was very important to me to offer a price point that was accessible for small to medium-sized businesses, solo operators and other individuals who work in the food space. Many other policy news outlets don’t allow you to buy single seats.
Will there be a free version?
Yes. The free version will go out on Fridays and will be somewhat more focused on the beyond-the-Beltway audience. Paid subscribers will always get both Tuesday and Friday editions.
Will you really publish every week?
Yes – with several breaks for holidays and time off throughout the year. To prep for this launch, I talked to dozens of media entrepreneurs and newsletter writers, and the overwhelming consensus was that regularly scheduled breaks are essential to preventing burnout.
Plus, who wants to read policy news during August recess doldrums? (Spoiler alert: no one.) All newsletter breaks will be telegraphed ahead of time.
What about breaking news?
Food Fix will publish on a schedule, twice a week. If there is major food policy news, it’s possible I will publish special editions surrounding major events, but that is not the focus. This newsletter is meant to be highly original and more analytical – not beholden to the fast and furious news cycle.
Will you be running ads or doing newsletter sponsorships?
Not at this time, but I plan to do so in the future. If you are interested in this option, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still have questions about what this is and why I should subscribe to it.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch! email@example.com