Francesca Borgognone – Entertain Editor, The Daily Meal
By Amanda Belo
How refreshing it is to meet someone whose work meshes everything that they love! Francesca Borgognone, who has a love for food and fashion, is one of those people and was practically bred to be the entertain editor at The Daily Meal, a position she was named to in April 2012.
“I thought I would be writing about the best burgers in New York or the best cocktails in Manhattan. This is more food intensified, and I love that I’m in a niche where I’m able to exercise my past as a fashion writer and my history in the kitchen,” she said.
The Daily Meal, an online publication that delivers content on all things related to food and drink, covers a lot of ground demographically and appeals to groups like “moms, couples, newlyweds and singles.”
Borgognone originally joined the Spanfeller Media Group in October 2011 as the editorial assistant to Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal. She had previously been with Italian VOGUE publications as a production assistant for VOGUE Italia, VOGUE Gioiello and VOGUE Bambini, but felt a void from not being able to write as often as she would have liked.
To compensate, she embarked on freelance opportunities and other side projects. Then one day, she saw a tweet by Andrews in regards to an assistant position vacancy and jumped at the chance to get her foot in the door. The opportunity put her on track to a career that suits her perfectly since The Daily Meal allows her to align her passions and interests with the site’s food and drink focus.
Borgogne had always wanted to be in fashion and has a knack for cooking and baking. “I grew up in the kitchen and come from a long line of bakers,” she said. “This job differs from anything else that I have done, because it is the only channel that I can bring in all my past experience.”
In addition to the excitement of parties, fashion shows, restaurant openings and other events Borgognone attends for work, she oversees the “Entertain” channel on the site. She expressed that The Daily Meal has defined a different vision for what entertaining actually covers.
“Entertaining pertains to all things food, specific holidays, weddings, entertaining with kids and the celebrity aspect of it all. There is always something to talk about –when it’s not wedding season, its BBQ season and [vice versa].”
The same go-getter mentality that Borgognone showed last year to land the job with Andrews is the same that started her on the path to journalism. Growing up, she felt there was a lack of creativity and expression in her environment. So she took matters into her own hands and experimented with different outlets that would fulfill that void.
“I really had to stretch my own boundaries,” Borgognone said. “I started taking sketching, writing and design classes.” She also participated in magazine reader panels.
In high school, she took a few writing classes and participated on panels for Teen VOGUE and now-defunct Teen People. She was noticed by former Teen People managing editor, Lori Majewski, during a reader panel and gained an inside look at the magazine industry.
“She took me under her wings,” Borgognone said. “I was able to see how magazines choose covers, the [behind-the-scenes] interview process, font types and use of colors.” She also sat in on meetings where she was frequently asked for her input and opinions. “I was just excited to be involved in something that was bigger than me.”
Borgognone enjoys the digital world, but finds it ironic that she works for an online publication since she is still loyally devoted to print and finds magazines to hold a sentimental value. She does not believe print will die, but that it may become less relevant.
“It’s funny that I am at an online website because I am such a diehard print person! I don’t care if the September issue of Vogue is 12 pounds and I have to lug it everywhere, or it takes me days to read it. However, what they are doing digitally is amazing.”
She likes the ease of access that the Internet provides, as well as the quick turnaround for stories that print, especially magazines, does not accommodate for. There is also far more content that can be created and the ability to take stories to the next level through videos, extra photos, behind-the-scenes interviews and more. This leads to more audience engagement, which is supplemented with out of the box thinking and effective use of social media tools.
Personally, Pinterest is Borgognone’s top choice for her specific platform. While Twitter serves as a news gatherer and Facebook is more of a personal site for her, she has found Pinterest to be the most relevant to her line of work.
“Pinterest users are looking for tips and inspirations, and it paints a picture for them of things that normally aren’t visual,” Borgognone said. “You are able to build visual stories, like menus and party ideas.”
To appeal to its audience, The Daily Meal puts a different spin on things by building on the use of a simple concept and expanding it. Borgognone said the key is to look at how everyone else does things and then amplify. “How many Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and back-to-school stories are there going to be? Make it unique!” she said.
Email is Borgognone’s preference for initial contact. She will follow-up with a phone call if the idea is approved by her editor, and then an in-person meeting.
Borgognone is also keen on relationship building with PR professionals based on familiarity, connectedness and reliability. When she needs a source for a story, Borgognone’s network is readily available with specific client types. “It is easier when you know who to go to.”
Follow Borgognone on Twitter at @thisgirlfancy.
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