Putting journalism tools in your hands

A pencil, a phone, and coffee.

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Start earning TFS rewards today

As any old-timer will tell you, you don’t need a fancy diploma to be a reporter. All you need is a pencil, a phone, and a cup of strong coffee.1

OK, you might also need a moral compass and intestinal fortitude, but those things are harder to put in the mail. By contrast, The Food Section is ready to send you any and all of the above in exchange for the email addresses of potential newsletter supporters.

Here’s how it works: For each prospective subscriber name and email address you send to raskin@thefoodsection.com, you’ll get one point toward a reward. And just like at your local Skee-Ball ticket redemption counter, there are small rewards and big rewards, which take skill and stamina to earn.

Let’s start with the small.

For just five points, you can claim a handsome yellow pencil with The Food Section’s logo.  

Not bad. But maybe you’re thinking bigger.

For 50 points, you can be the proud owner of a high-quality mug with The Food Section’s logo.

If you already find solace in a morning coffee routine, imagine the gratification you’d get from sipping and knowing you’d done your part to advance independent food journalism across the American South.

Still, readers of The Food Section aren’t the laurel-resting kind. That’s why The Food Section has a very special gift for readers dedicated to spreading the word about this newsletter.

For 500 points, The Food Section is offering the ultimate incentive:

That’s right: A vintage Sports Illustrated football phone. For folks who don’t remember the ‘80s, the football-shaped flip phone has been credited with selling roughly 1.6 million subscriptions. Let’s see if we can’t make a little of that landline magic work for The Food Section.

But since this gambit has been tried before, we’re not just offering the phone. Along with the device, you’ll also receive the number for The Food Section’s top-secret hotline, which you can call whenever you have a burning question about Southern food or where to find it. I promise I’ll pick up.

Let the games begin.

p.s. If you don’t have 50 friends to nominate for the newsletter’s email list, you can still buy a coffee mug and other branded merchandise from The Food Section’s online store, newly updated with items including ringer tees and tie-dyed shirts.


  1. Never a pen! The ink freezes in cold weather. ↩︎
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  1. Avatar photoSteve Cavendish says

    Important question, Hanna: If we actually pull off enough points for the phone, does that include you installing a land line for those of us who don’t have one? I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.

    • Avatar photoHanna Raskin says

      Hahaha. Great question. Tell you what: The current ratio of The Food Section’s unpaid readers to paying subscribers is 10:1 (which is about Substack standard.) If 51 or more of your referrals purchase a subscription, I’ll make the necessary arrangements with BellSouth (aka AT&T).

  2. Avatar photoKristin Leong says

    Ummm…I’m pretty sure there’s no limit to what my wife would do for that football phone. Amazing.

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