It’s not often a newspaper sends its chief sports correspondent to a restaurant to cover an Italian chef cooking up a feast for the homeless, smack bang in the middle of the Olympics. But that’s what The Independent did in Rio this month, a freedom it can enjoy now it no longer has a print newspaper.
Its motives: to capitalize on interest around an earlier story which caught fire on Facebook, where it has 5 million followers. The story was “Rio 2016: International chefs cooking surplus Olympic food for city’s poorest residents,” and made its author — The Independent’s newly installed New York-based reporter Feliks Garcia — the seventh-most engaged-with writer for Olympics-related content on Facebook, with 355,000 comments, likes and shares, according to NewsWhip data. The follow-up was an iPhone-filmed video and feature “Rio 2016 Serving up the the Olympics’ vast vat of wasted food for those homeless who need it.”