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The 2015 JBF Publication of the Year: Gravy

Journalism Awards Committee

April 24, 2015

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Directional, multiplatform, and enriching, Gravy, a publication of the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), has a vital mission: “to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.” The SFA publication and its affiliated podcast deliver splendidly on that mission. Led by editor-in-chief John T. Edge, who is also director of the SFA, the magazine is edited by Sara Camp Arnold. Tina Antolini hosts and produces the Gravy podcast. Taken together, Gravy finds inventive and provocative ways to tell compelling stories.

Although slight in size, this quarterly magazine, delivered to all SFA members and paired with its weekly podcasts, is broad and effective in its editorial intent. We want to read it and listen to it, to engage with the foodways and oral traditions of real people. Neither generational nor biased, with stories both urban and rural, Gravy invites us into the cultural and historical context of food issues and experiences in the ever-changing American South.

Its thoughtful voice comes from personal storytelling, shared through poignant essays, evocative illustration and photography, oral histories, and poetry. Its content challenges us with questions about race, ethnicity, immigration, nutrition, food access, land tenure, and more.

Though its editorial mission celebrates tradition, Gravy is every bit a product of today. The magazine informs and provokes our thinking with short, focused content. Its biweekly podcast—archived, downloadable, and free on iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud—is audio journalism at its best.

Gravy sets a high standard. As a not-for-profit publication, published on a limited budget from membership revenue in the Southern Foodways Alliance, it offers a forward-thinking model for other regional food publications.

By recognizing Gravy as the 2015 Publication of the Year, the Journalism Awards Committee acknowledges its journalistic leadership in the community, its progressive approach as a multimedia publication, and its honesty and impact on issues of social and food justice.