Yes, I’m about to rant. I’m frustrated and unfortunately my local newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is about to take a direct hit.
On Saturday night I noticed the Star Tribune’s article, Demonized gluten means major dough, online. The article contained information on the business of gluten free foods. But what I believe it missed was actual news. The Star Tribune reporter (or his editors) didn’t go out of his way to seek out if there was any related news that went beyond the catch-all gluten free article that includes fad diet information, celebrity endorsements and why it’s “unhealthy”.
- Did the Star Tribune seek to find out that May is Celiac Awareness Month?
- Did they seek to find out that just a few days prior, there was big news in Washington DC on a summit that stressed the importance of gluten free lableing? The FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Food and members of Congress were in attendance. ABC News, The Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post and more listed here, all covered it in some way over the last few weeks.
- Or even on a more local scale — did the StarTribune find out that Governor Mark Dayton declared May Celiac Disease Awareness Month, or that Minnesota has one of the largest Celiac/gluten free fundraisers coming up on May 21st? (A news release was emailed to the Star Tribune’s newsroom in late April.)
The answer to all of these questions is clearly — No.
Instead it was an article very similar to many others I have seen in the last few days like this one on CBS.com. Or another one I saw from the LA Times (which actually did mention the Washington DC labeling summit, but contained significant inaccuracies that warranted a correction).
Find the News
After working 14 years in the news business I feel I have the experience to offer these suggestions:
One quick Google News search of “gluten free” would have popped up information on the summit last week. And searching the same source for “celiac disease” you would have seen that it was Celiac Awareness Month based on the posts that came back.
How about looking for any support groups in Minnesota who could have help you get more of a local and personal angle (besides the big “get” General Mills– although Bard’s Beer was a nice highlight) with a person who’s living the gluten-free life because they have to. There are many.
As a family who has been touched directly by celiac disease — which went unnoticed by the media for the first 8 years of my daughter’s diagnosis, I appreciate the Star Tribune for actually printing something that keeps the gluten-free diet in the spotlight, but unfortunately they didn’t break new ground – they weren’t even close.
People who eat gluten-free because they have celiac disease or an intolerance take the gluten free diet very seriously. For us it’s not a fad, a weight loss tool or something we just can do whenever we want. It is a mandatory lifestyle change that will help maintain our health.
I would just appreciate a little extra work from the Star Tribune, and other media, to not just report on gluten free foods because it’s the latest fad diet –but report the news — especially when major celiac news was made in the last 2 weeks and you ignored it.