In this edition of Meet the Media, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Molly Amber, a journalist who started as a travel blogger and now writes for Fabulous Washington and Seattleite. Molly’s journey into the world of food and travel reporting is a compelling story of how a simple travel blog evolved into a flourishing career in journalism.
How did you get your start in journalism and what led you to Fabulous Washington and Seattleite?
It started a few years ago when I started a travel blog just for fun. I wanted a way to keep track of my trips and share my experiences with friends. In early 2020, I decided to dabble in food blogging on Instagram. Initially, it was just a fun hobby, but as COVID hit, I began posting more and backlogging food-related content. My food blogging journey led to an opportunity to write for Seattleite. I connected with a fellow writer who was leaving the role due to a move to Chicago. She introduced me to the editor, and I started contributing to Seattleite in early 2021. Through my involvement with Seattleite, I had the chance to network with PR professionals in Seattle, particularly those representing restaurants and hotels. This networking eventually led me to the editor of ‘Fabulous Washington.’ One of the PR contacts I collaborated with introduced me to her. So, while my writing career started as a fun side project, it really took off through networking and making connections in the industry.
What initially sparked your interest in covering food and travel?
I’ve always been obsessed with food and travel. I love writing about it and I love sharing my experiences with other people.
How do you decide what stories to cover?
I usually get a good amount of pitches about restaurants opening or hotels getting revamped. Sometimes I’ll see something that’s interesting, like a new business that I want to promote, so I’ll reach out to their team and collaborate with them on things.
Could you walk us through your typical process for researching and developing a story related to food or travel?
When I work with restaurants, I normally go to the restaurant and experience it for myself. So that’s the first step, just experiencing it in person. After that, I will do some research to find relevant information along with any press releases. Most of it is going to the restaurant or hotel and experience it for myself!
Have there been instances where you embarked on a story that turned out to be unexpectedly challenging or rewarding? What did you learn from those experiences?
One of the most memorable experiences I had was during my visit to a Hawaiian hotel a couple of months ago. It was before the unfortunate wildfires and other recent events. What struck me as particularly cool was how deeply this hotel embraced and shared traditional Hawaiian culture. In contrast to many other modern and commercialized hotels in Hawaii, this one stood out. During my stay, I discovered they offered various cultural classes, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the authentic Hawaiian way of life. It was a pleasant surprise because, before visiting, I had no idea about the extent of their commitment to preserving and sharing the island’s rich cultural heritage. It was a genuinely enlightening and cool experience.
In your opinion, what makes food and travel stories impactful?
One of my favorite aspects, as I mentioned earlier, is sharing information about small businesses and helping spread the word about these hidden gems, whether they’re new or not widely known. I really enjoy that part. But what I also find fulfilling is making these places relatable to others and sparking their interest in visiting. Creating that relatability is crucial in my work.
Given the dynamic nature of the food and travel industry here in Seattle, how do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments?
It’s a significant advantage for me to have built good relationships with several key PR professionals in Seattle. They often send me information about new restaurant openings directly to my inbox, which is incredibly helpful. Additionally, I rely on Instagram for insights. There are a few people I follow on Instagram who always seem to be the first to know about new restaurant openings and are quick to visit them. It’s a combination of my PR connections and social media that keeps me updated!
Quick Fire Questions:
- If I am not working, I am… trying a new restaurant or traveling somewhere. I also love going to yoga.
- If I could spotlight any restaurant, it would be… Spinasse in Capitol Hill.
- My favorite movie is… Mrs. Doubtfire.
- My favorite place I’ve traveled to is… South Africa.
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