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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Oregonian's latest change leaves a bad taste

The Portland Oregonian this week canned their restaurant reviewer because DeAnn Welker, editor of the A&E section, said that the paper's restaurant reviews have tended to be more high-end and Portland-centric than the way the average newspaper reader eats.

Translation, let's cover inexpensive chain restaurants in the burbs instead of focusing on Portland's rich culinary scene. And, let's run free reviews from readers rather than continuing to pay an award-winning freelance restaurant reviewer. Let's potentially dumb down our coverage.

Anyone can rant and rave but not everyone can be a credible reviewer.

I'm glad I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where food criticism is still a high art and reviewers are experienced journalists who know how to write well and are, for the most part, impartial, objective and have good taste. Plus they write for editors who know food, understand how restaurants work and are able to ask tough questions and provide checks and balances.

What qualities do you think a food critic needs?

~ Paula