If there is one thing to be said about the AJC food staff, love or hate them, it is that they are professionally trained, know how to write and can write. Sometimes they write beautifully, the kind of prose you want to read over and over. It sure would be nice if there were a search tool that allowed access to, oh, all articles by Meredith Ford from 2005 inclusive. You know, a nice text field were you could say something like “author=Meredith Ford, year= 2005, subject=food” and go for it. Instead we’re faced with the interface of Access Atlanta.
Access Atlanta is more a dream for advertisers than readers. The interface is cramped, the interface is slow. The whole site acts as if was never seriously tested with the target audience that would try to use it most. More so, Access Atlanta doesn’t seem to be able to keep food articles that were once there. The hundreds of broken Access Atlanta links around the internet are proof of that. The number of lost articles that can’t be recovered, even by searching on the site, is proof of that.
Access Atlanta is the La Brea tar pit of food articles; articles check in, and soon are lost forever. Contrast that state of affairs with the New York Times, where it’s not all that hard to use a web search and find an article dating to the 19th century. It’s a waste of the AJC’s greatest culinary resource, its long history of excellent food writing over the years. It’s a crime to the authors of the work, it’s a crime perpetrated on readers like me.