It wasn't long ago that the (b)Oregonian had a few of our city's best food writers, Roger Porter and Karen Brooks, in their stables. Both were booted. Yesterday, Michael C. Zusman sent out an email about having his freelance agreement terminated.
I can’t ascribe a definite cause-and-effect relationship, but the timing may well relate to a recent incident during which DeAnn told me that if I did not pump up an ambivalent review I had submitted, she was going to kill the review. I told her that would be dishonest and a disservice to readers, and could not do so. She killed the review. That was about two weeks ago.
A few years ago, we had a super team of restaurant writers/reviewers at The Oregonian with Roger Porter, Christina Melander, Karen and me anchoring the coverage. We nailed most of the breaking news, wrote insightful (if not always flattering) reviews, and provided abundant original, thoughtful reporting about Portland’s restaurant world. Now all of us are gone.
I’ll leave it to others to judge how the changing of the guard has affected the quality of The Oregonian’s restaurant coverage.
This is a shame. I enjoyed Zusman's reviews, and wish him well wherever he lands.
In the papers-I-care-to-read school of journalism, The New York Times is losing another food critic, this time to the National desk. Sam Sifton announced yesterday, via Twitter, that he's changing departments just two years after taking over for current Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni. There's only speculation on his replacement now—some are saying Pete Wells, which I'd welcome—but no official announcement has been made.