Blogging the News

Renaissance on a Plate- Mission Statement and Editorial Plan

September 25, 2014 Written by | No Comments

Mission Statement

Gentrification is a loaded issue because it highlights two matters neighborhoods arguably face; loss of culture and preservation of culture. “Renaissance on a Plate” will address gentrification through the lens of the hospitality industry; restaurants, bars, cafes, and any space where one can grab a bite to eat or a drink to sip.

The village of Harlem, New York City’s historically rich neighborhood, has transformed because gentrification is in full effect. Harlem is home to well-known spaces, including the famous Apollo Theatre and southern soul food kitchen Sylvia’s Restaurant. Cultural movements, such as “The Harlem Renaissance” and “Civil Rights Movement,” shaped Harlem into the neighborhood we all know. But, the residents of this area need to be aware of the rapid changes occurring before their very eyes.

We will examine what happens when corner bodegas transform into trendy bars, and local fried chicken joints are replaced with elaborate Italian bistros. Confronting the residents of Harlem to get their opinions on these changes, interviewing the owners and employees of various businesses, profiling well-known vintage eateries to contrast its newest neighbors- these are a few critical aspects of the blog. Capturing photos and videos of the businesses in the neighborhood will provide readers with visual content to showcase the live occurrences of gentrification. Our posts will be insightful, but will also take on a curious approach when we uncover fresh information. “Renaissance on a Plate” is on a mission to discover whether this transformation caused by gentrification is diminishing or preserving the culture of Harlem.

There are tons of neighborhoods in New York City in the midst of gentrification. News organizations in the city point out blatant political issues that gentrification brings to the surface, but the city lacks the live coverage we feel is necessary when reporting news surrounding this topic. A simple Google search using the keywords “Gentrification News New York City” shows that this topic is not as profoundly exposed as it should be. The articles listed on the first search page are dated, stretching back as far as nine months ago. In addition to the lack of consistent coverage, most of the articles heavily focus on gentrification through the real estate perspective. Real estate is the initial thought that comes to mind when gentrification is the topic of choice, but gentrification is not limited to this one area of focus. . “Renaissance on a Plate” differs in that we want to report the happenings of gentrification as it occurs, specifically through the urban renewal of eateries. We will lightly touch on other layers of gentrification- real estate, demographics, art culture, etc- but our main objective is to maintain our distinctiveness by honing in on the effects of gentrification within the food service industry.

Harlem is our targeted community, so we are initially aiming to connect to local residents while we set out to uncover the primary subject matter. We want to attract Harlem natives- both the young and old generations, people who are new to the area and people who are interested in moving in. It is important to reach people who are familiar with Harlem’s historical background and how the neighborhood has transformed to its present state. We are also aiming to attract experts within the food industry. Those who are familiar with general operational strategies of restaurants and bars will be able to understand why owners make certain decisions for their businesses. We will make use of the most beneficial online platforms that will help us gain a following of readers, and to then connect to those readers. We want our stories and multimedia to be easily accessible to everybody, so we will stream our content through our Twitter and Instagram profiles.

“Renaissance on a Plate” aims to curate content concentrating on our local findings of gentrification in the food and beverage industry. While Harlem is our main area of focus, we are aware of the vast number of neighborhoods in New York City also experiencing gentrification; Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Astoria in Queens are two examples. We believe “Renaissance on a Plate” has the potential to grow and we want to foster an environment that will help it do so, so we will not hesitate to include neighborhoods facing similar issues whenever necessary.

Maintaining an unambiguous objective is important to us, which is why we want to build a solid community of readers to help us communicate our message.


Editorial Content Overview

Types of content:

I want to write a mix of posts, some posts will be shorter in length and some will be longer. Some will include multimedia, some will not. I want my posts to be somewhat consistent in content, so I may have reoccurring/themed posts. In some of the longer posts I would focus on interviews or Q&As with restaurant owners, employees, residents of Harlem, experts in sociology, etc. However, if I decide to upload a video of an interview, my posts will be shorter in length.

Reoccurring/Themed Posts Ideas:

-“Qs & As”: Have detailed Q&A interviews with restaurant owners, experts in gentrification, council people, etc. Ask them about their backgrounds, why they chose to have their business in the neighborhood, opinions about gentrification, etc.

-“Meet the Streets”: Interviews with the people of Harlem (new residents, old residents, college students, etc). Ask them for a short background story; how long have they lived in Harlem, where, etc. Then ask them for their opinions on the changes in the neighborhood. Do they think it is good or bad?

-“Old Timers”: Profiling the older businesses in the neighborhood. How/ why are these businesses still around? I will add in additional information from restaurant owners, employees, costumers, etc.

-“Dine Time”: My personal dining experiences at the restaurants in Harlem. Inside access to their menus, venue, employees, etc. I will basically write a review of my experience, and tie it to my thoughts as to whether this fits into the culture of Harlem or if it is completely different.


Break down the numbers:                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

-Longer Posts: 500+ words                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 -Shorter Posts with multimedia: 300- words


How frequently would post:                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 -Once a week minimum, twice a week maximum. I will make Thursday or Friday my designated days to post.


How much time do you envision it will take to create posts:                                                                                                                                                  

-1-3 hours


List of people to interview:                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

-Chef Maruc Samuleson: Owner of Red Rooster

– Melissa Mark-Viverito: NYC Council Speaker and represents District 8 (East Harlem)

-Baruch Black and Latino studies or sociology professors

-Geoffrey Canada: President of Harlem’s Children Zone

-Business Owners in Harlem


Description of multimedia good for blog:                                                                                                   

-Photos of businesses in the neighborhood (before and after pictures of the spaces, Photos of decorative business in bad areas, etc)

-Photos of business owners or anybody I interview

-Videos of interviews, live events, etc.


Additional ideas:

-Coverage of events: This wouldn’t count as a reoccurring post because events are not ongoing. But if there is some type of restaurant event or festival in Harem, I will be there to cover what is happening. I will capture photos, video, interview people, etc.

-Before and After: Short posts of the businesses that were in a space before and the businesses that are currently there. Include photos in this post as well.

-Post about the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Explain my findings of the Harlem in past, and of anything dealing with gentrification in Harlem.

Categories: Food · Journalism · Neighborhoods · Politics