Meet the Media: The Oklahoman's Food Dood, Dave Cathey

Let’s Meet the Media, OKC!

My aim with this series is twofold. One, I hope to make life easier for those around me, especially those getting started. And two, I want to help bridge the ever-changing landscape that exists between PR & Media, especially as opportunities shrink for publicity and workloads increase for journalists.

My first feature is The Oklahoman’s Dave Cathey. The Food Dood. Dave has worked at The Oklahoman since Dec. 1990 as an editor, reporter and columnist. He’s been Food Editor since Nov. 2008. But he’s more than that. He is a conduit between restaurants in OKC. He cares about the people he’s writing about. He doesn’t try to use his power in this role for anything self-serving. He’s a historian. He’s a friend.

While I had worked with him before, I really got to know Dave when, after the tornadoes in May of 2013, a group of local restaurants and restaurant-adjacent people (including Dave & me) got involved in OK Chef’s Relief, a disaster response pop-up restaurant that raised a lot of money for the victims.

For this Q&A I asked Dave what he thought about working with PR people and he replied, “Relationships are everything.” I agree! So read on and then start building your own relationship with the Food Dood.

ZEECK: What made you choose the path of journalism?

CATHEY: The path really chose me because writing was about the only way I could effectively communicate ideas with adults as a kid. That dynamic remains in place.

ZEECK: What do you cover? Just food?

CATHEY: Food, drink, entertaining and public events.

ZEECK: What about the job has changed since 1990?

CATHEY: The job hasn't changed much, but the industry has been turned inside-out. Our newsroom once teemed with reporters, today it's a skeleton crew. On the other hand, there are more people engaged with media than ever. The job today also includes finding readers rather than waiting for them to find you.

ZEECK: Besides being asked to take this survey, what is your biggest pet peeve about PR folks?

CATHEY: Misunderstanding of the job. It isn't to simply facilitate a handshake, but to help their clients understand what dealing with media is for. It isn't just to get free advertising, it's to put your story into the public realm, cultivate it as best as possible and see if it will grow. If a client lacks the fundamental elements needed for a story to take root and flourish, it's the PR professiona'ls job to be the bearer of bad news. Not everyone has a story ready for the media.

ZEECK: What don't we know about you?

CATHEY: Mathematics and music are proof of a measurable universal language. I am fluent in neither but appreciate both.


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