Monday, June 22, 2009

Ottawa Citizen Nutrition Watch Recap!

Welcome CBC Ottawa Morning listeners (and if you're reading this before 7:30am, have a listen to CBC Ottawa Morning this morning at 7:30am!)!

Hopefully you've found your way here to help with the "ask before you order" campaign to have the Citizen include nutritional information in their published calories.

To recap. Roughly six weeks ago I blogged about how I had written a letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen asking that they publish nutritional information for its Food Section recipes.

It didn't get published.

I then wrote Ron Eade, the Citizen's longstanding, entertaining and informative Food Editor with the same request and he informed me that it was a budgetary issue and suggested I contact Wendy Warburton the person in charge of making the decision to spend the $16.99 it would cost to buy the software to analyze the recipes.

And so I did.

She didn't write me back.

The next week I offered to do the Citizen's work for them. I offered to use my own software and my own time to analyze the recipes for the Citizen. Ron reported that he'd pass my offer up the chain of command.

I didn't hear back from anyone.

Two weeks ago I emailed the Citizen's Publisher, their VP of Sales and Service and their Editor-in-Chief and I was pleased to hear back from Gerry Nott, Editor-in-Chief. He let me know it was the first he'd heard of the initiative and that he'd discuss our request and my offer with Wendy on her return from vacation on June 22.

Again, the issue here is simple. There are tens of thousands of Citizen readers for whom nutritional information would be beneficial. Readers with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease and those who simply are concerned about their nutritional health. Those individuals would greatly benefit from having access to the nutritional breakdown of the recipes published by the Citizen.

Given that I've offered to do all of the Citizen's work for them for free, there really shouldn't be anything stopping them from taking me up on my offer, and today is actually an important day for this campaign as today is the day Wendy Warburton returns from vacation.

On a very positive note, I had a nice chat with Ron Eade this past weekend and it would certainly seem that we're both on the same page with regards to the great importance of societal nutritional awareness.

If you'd like to see nutritional information included in the Citizen, please take a few minutes out of your day and send an email to the Citizen's Editor-in-Chief Gerry Nott, Food Editor Ron Eade and Wendy Warburton by clicking here.

Remember, it was the Citizen's editorial board in their piece on posting calories on menus who suggested that legislation isn't necessary to get restaurants to post calories but rather that consumer demand would do the trick. Let's see if they were right in regard to their own paper.

Bloggers, Twittawa - please consider reposting this today and for those not so savvy with social media - please email this post to your friends.

Who knows, perhaps this campaign can serve as a model for other newspaper changes. Perhaps by getting involved here you'll actually be helping to pave the road to making newspaper published nutritionals the new normal.