'Am I Obsolete?' Asks 'San Francisco Chronicle' Food Critic Michael Bauer

Image from Between Meals

On his blog Between Meals, longtime San Francisco Chronicle food editor and restaurant critic Michael Bauer recounts discussion from a recent forum concerning the changing face of food journalism. Panelists were asked about the rise of Yelp, reviews on OpenTable, and the profusion of food bloggers on the Internet. At one point, Bauer said, “It used to be that newspapers were the only local voices; now we're one among many.”

In reflecting on the panel, Bauer asks his readers, “Am I obsolete?” It’s a question that crops up more and more, as user-driven review sites and food-centric blogs take off. Ruth Reichl recently suggested at a Columbia Journalism School lecture that the days of the critic's supremacy have passed, and every other navel-gazing op-ed questions the future of traditional journalism. But not too many established critics would concede, or even allow the possibility of, their own irrelevance.

What do you think? Will various Internet sources replace newspaper dinosaurs? Or will there always be a place for traditional critics in print?

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