a tale of two coronavirus x food chain stories

So I’m very interested in the different approaches that WaPo vs. BuzzFeed News took with their respective “follow a meal, expose the pandemic’s impact on the food supply chain” stories from last week: WaPo’s was The human cost of a $20 burger during a pandemic and beef supply chain in crisis and BF News’ is The Who Died For Your Dinner? investigation they pubbed on July 4.

For one thing, there’s the choice in the food: WaPo traces the “journey” of an actual burger patty from a fancy DC restaurant, which probably made the story more relatable to a certain audience (AKA the acela crowd with expense accounts); BF News tackled the ribs, pie, and pasta salad anyone could theoretically buy from a real Walmart in Massachusetts. 

WaPo’s story drills down more into the beef, restaurant, and food delivery industries and seems very into the fact that it can draw a straight line from one single burger that was actually ordered to its origins to a pregnant cow in Kansas; BF News’ piece is less literal and focuses on the pandemic conditions surrounding one Washington state packhouse, one Tyson plant, and a Walmart in Massachusetts. 

Ultimately, both do a great job plotting a picture of the human and economic toll that the pandemic is wreaking in just about every corner of the food industry, as well as spotlighting some of the very real deaths that have been involved in the supply chains investigated. But I think BF News wins points for accessibility (How many people are gonna actually feel invested in a burger from Le Dip??), and WaPo maybe loses a point or two for the confusingly sensuous language used. Like I’m not sure I can read “Fat bubbled. Edges crisped. It was going to be delicious” in the same breath as “before the burger was a burger, or a slab of beef, or an animal that mooed, there was a frozen plastic straw of sperm on a sprawling pasture outside of Eureka”?? Are we **supposed** to feel hungry? Probably not right?


>> The Media Classifieds

  • The Content Technologist is a newsletter for creators and publishers that breaks down the tech we use to create and distribute. Every Thursday, dig into how concepts like SEO, UX and analytics impact media operations. Envision a better digital content future. Subscribe here.

  • The Girl Who Cried Look! is a fashion newsletter documenting one girl’s efforts to prioritize “why” and "how" over "what" when adding to her closet. Each issue highlights part of the journey to answering the ultimate question: Should I buy this?

  • Goddess With A Blade by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane is the urban fantasy series you’ve been waiting for. Funny, sexy and brutal, this paranormal mystery will sink its fangs into you. Learn more at LaurenDane.com‬.

  • Cocktail nights in? Build your bar cart with CURIADA’s unique craft & artisan spirits. Support independent entrepreneurs & makers while enjoying a damn good drink. Curated collections drop monthly & feature emerging distillers & producers. DEEZHALL for $5 off shipping through 7/31


Want to promote your job opening / pitch call / new project / ecommerce brand? Consider a classified ad. Deez Links and Study Hall are working together to distribute weekly listings to 10,000 hyper-engaged followers of the media industry (editors, writers, executives) through both newsletters. Click through for rates and to inquire


Deez Links is a dailyish newsletter written by delia cai. You can support the newsletter by sharing it or hitting up our merch store!