Yesterday I mentioned the story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the influence foodbloggers and food forums such as Yelp are having on the restaurant biz. The crux was, Who are these amateurs and can we trust them? The article mentions the 30-day grace period professional critics often give a new place and the fact that they visit multiple times before turning in their copy.
But what about professional critics who also blog?
On his blog, Michael Bauer reviews restaurants, especially in other cities, which it seems like he has only eaten at once. I have asked several times in the comments there for him to clarify to his audience whether his blog reviews do or do not meet his own advertised codes of conduct as a reviewer. No information has ever been forthcoming.
I've never given a starred review on this blog; that's not what this is about. Between Meals has an entirely different format, and to me it seems clear that when I post about a local or out-of-town restaurant I'm sharing a first impression; it's not masquerading as a review. With the blog I try to raise issues, listen to readers and bring up areas of mutual interest.
Most of Bauer's readers sounding off in the comments seemed to have no trouble grasping the distinction.
I mention this topic again today because Frank Bruni, the restaurant critic for the New York Times, writes about similar blog vs. review issues on Diner's Journal. There, a reader asks him if he's not tipping his hand to future review subjects by mentioning them on his blog. Bruni replies:
The restaurants I review in the paper most often haven’t been the subjects of early critical appraisals here, though they’ve sometimes been mentioned in posts focusing on particular aspects of the way they operate, certain peculiarities that attended their openings.
There are exceptions, of course, and those exceptions sometimes reflect the special degree of curiosity readers have about certain restaurants that I’m not yet prepared to review but have, in fact, visited, though not as often as I will have by the time I write a review.
The Power of Food Blogging
Becks & Posh Restaurant Review Rules [Becks & Posh]
Food Critic Guidelines [Association of Food Journalists]
How to Evaluate Restaurants [Between Meals]
Frequently Asked Questions [Between Meals]
An Introduction to Diner's Journal [Diner's Journal]
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