Although I’m no relation to legendary critic Danny Raskin, his granddaughter and I share a name. Actually, she spells Hanna with an ‘h’ at the end, but that hasn’t deterred unhappy readers from sending her nasty messages about my columns. “I think this was meant for you,” the California fitness instructor wrote when she first tracked down my forwarding address.

It was through Hannah Raskin that I learned about Danny Raskin’s spectacular tenure as The Detroit Jewish News’ restaurant reviewer. Raskin started writing for the paper when he was a USO performer during World War II. At 100, he’s still filing one review a week: His byline has now appeared in 4000 consecutive issues. He says the job’s too fun to give up.

(If you watch one YouTube video today, make it this short WXYZ-TV profile of Raskin at work )

Raskin was selected by the AFJ board as this year’s recipient of the Carol DeMasters Award for Service to Food Journalism, and I couldn’t be happier about it. As today’s journalists think about their relationships with readers, it’s hard to improve upon the model created by Raskin, who was looking out for diners in Detroit when national food writers were still dismissive of the city.

If you’re feeling inspired to follow Raskin’s lead and burrow deeper into your own community, AFJ has a whole slate of upcoming programs to help, including a pair of excellent webinars and an IRE training in Brooklyn. You can read more below about what’s planned, but if you have any questions about the IRE workshop, please don’t hesitate to ask: I attended our session in Milwaukee, and it was exceptional.

And that’s just a start: I wish I could tell you now about some of the exciting announcements we’ll be making over the coming months. But if I’ve learned anything from Raskin, it’s patience. Mazel tov, Danny!

Take care,
AFJ meets IRE in Milwaukee: Rosin Saez on the Association of Food Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors Milwaukee Workshop
I started in the world of journalism on the fact-checking desk and have, over the years, collected a few investigative tip and tricks. But as an early career magazine editor and food writer without a formal background in journalism, I really wanted to step my game up and bulletproof my reporting in ways I hadn’t done before. When the Association of Food Journalists announced a workshop run by the renowned Investigative Reporters & Editors —my colleague returned from an IRE conference last year with loads of information—I knew it would be a great investment. And it absolutely was. The one-day workshop was an incredible crash course that covered backgrounding sources, digging deep into the web for under or unreported stories, and a lot more—I left with a heavy toolbox of resources. It was the mini J-school for busy editors at an editor’s price point. Plus I connected with so many fellow passionate people whose work I admire, and that really enriched the experience for me.
Rosin Saez, associate editor, Seattle Met Magazine
A special thanks to our friends at Visit Milwaukee for their thoughtful hospitality during our IRE + AFJ workshop in Milwaukee March 29.
Miss us in Milwaukee? Join IRE + AFJ in Brooklyn
On Monday, May 6, we'll convene at the Williamsburgh Library branch of Brooklyn Public Library with Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) training director Cody Winchester . Winchester will lead registered attendees through the following sessions:

  • Backgrounding strategies | We all know that people make the story, but how can you dig up information on them? This session offers some techniques and resources used to find people, verify their information and uncover their online presence.
  • Bulletproofing the story | Strategies, tips and techniques for reporters, editors, producers and online staff to ensure accuracy.
  • Tools to help you get the job done | Using free applications for mapping, web scraping, timelines and visuals. Reporting tools to help save you time. No coding required.

Registration for the Brooklyn IRE workshop closes Monday, April 29. Just a few spots remain, so don't wait. Sign up today .
AFJ @ euphoria, Sept. 19 - 20, 2019
We're honored that euphoria is hosting the 2019 AFJ Awards ceremony this September. A special AFJ ticket package for the event will be available for purchase by the end of April — just $150 for AFJ members; nonmembers pay $175, m ade possible with the support of our friends at euphoria and Visit Greenville . Finalists for the AFJ awards will be given free admission to the program and reception. 

Included in this sweet deal? The AFJ Awards reception on Thursday, Sept. 19, of course. On Friday, Sept. 20, AFJ ticket holders get the chance to hear James Beard Award winning Carlos Frías in conversation with culinary and humanitarian icon José Andrés followed by two educational panels.

Our euphoria host committee selected Ligaya Figueras and Emily Saladino 's proposals as the winners of the first AFJ crowdsourced educational sessions. Figueras has assembled a panel of food journalists who will tackle the finer points of ethics in food writing. Saladino will address the intersection of food, politics and journalism.

Regarded as one of the best festivals to taste your way through the South , we can't think of a better backdrop for food journalists and enthusiasts to come together. See you in Greenville, SC.
How to fact-check a chef with Tracie McMillan
Sound Bites webinar
Wednesday, May 15 1:30 - 2 p.m. EDT
How can you check if a restaurant treats workers well? Tracie McMillan, who helped Food & Wine create its inaugural “ Great Restaurants to Work For ” list, will walk you through core questions to ask and the easy-to-get public documents that can help you figure it out. McMillan is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of the 2012 New York Times Bestseller,  The American Way of Eating @TMMcMillan

AFJ Sound Bites webinars are free and open to all. RSVP here .
Christmas [cookies!] in July
Sound Bites webinar
Thursday, July 25, 1:30 - 2 p.m., EDT

Ever toyed with the idea of hosting a cookie contest? Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune have produced an annual reader holiday cookie contest since 2003, and will share the processes they’ve devised over the years to successfully produce this very popular feature – for both print and online platforms -- from sorting entries to staging events.

Last year, Dean and Nelson transformed 15 years of cookie contest content into “ The Great Minnesota Cookie Book ,” published by the University of Minnesota Press, nominated for a 2019 IACP award.

AFJ Sound Bites webinars are free and open to all. RSVP here .
AFJ meet-up: Minneapolis, MN - Saturday, April 27
If you’re in Minneapolis for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference on April 27, stop by The Lynhall for a casual meet-and-greet for food writers from 5-6:30 p.m. There will be snacks and plenty of conversation, plus a cash bar. $10 admission; register here .
Association of Food Journalists |