How to be a food writer

Kat Kinsman, managing editor, CNN's Eatocracy

Kat Kinsman of CNN's

Kat Kinsman of CNN's Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Former profession: Art director

Making the switch: Intimidated by editors with English and journalism degrees, Kinsman, a metalsmithing M.F.A., didn't think she had the chops for an editorial career. But the former Citysearch art director slowly began picking up assignments—concert, book and, eventually, restaurant reviews—from her colleagues at the website. She continued to pen stories on the side as she moved on to art director positions at FHM and then Maxim. When she found out about a short-term gig as a grilling editor at AOL through a friend, Kinsman jumped at the opportunity and won the job with her freelance clips and digital expertise. Within a few months, both the food editor and a senior editor left, and she was left running the show. Kinsman's mix of Internet savvy and culinary passion led her to her pitch the idea of a food blog to CNN, where she is now the managing editor for Eatocracy.

Word to the wise: "Treat blogging as a professional gig, update on a regular basis, and have your own vision and voice. Somebody is going to take notice. Also, hold yourself up to journalistic standards—disclose and don't take freebies."

Get your feet wet: Learn the fundamentals of pitching and writing for food publications at the Institute of Culinary Education's two-session class How to Be a Food Writer taught by Cooking Light contributing editor Marge Perry. 50 W 23rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-847-0700; Oct 18, 25 7--9pm; $135.

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