Oregonian food critic Michael Russell’s face, or part of it, really, may be visible in a photo the newspaper published as part of an online slide show, Martin Cizmar writes, saying that the anonymity of Portland food critics “might finally be dying.”
Actually, every staff critic in Portland previously worked another beat, where they weren’t anonymous. Russell, for example, was famously characterized as “a cops reporter who had washed dishes in a restaurant kitchen” by former Seattle Weekly food critic Hanna Raskin. As the old guard moves along—or, like Karen Brooks, the dean of Portland food critics, gets an offer to judge on Top Chef and has a new book to promote—most people in the generation that replaces it will have been photographed daily from birth.
“We found the WWeek item to be of no journalistic value and, frankly, to be a failed attempt at making something out of nothing,” Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia tells Poynter in an email. But Cizmar’s post resurfaces a perennial debate in food reporting: How important is it that critics remain anonymous? Read more