As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve decided to add a little criticism to this blog. I don’t plan to rant or be all negative, but every now and then I plan on expressing an opinion that some might feel is negative. No, folks, it’s just my point of view.
So with that in mind, I feel the need to express concern over what happened this week.
As many of you know, I wrote restaurant reviews for the Tucson Weekly for ten years. during that time I learned a lot about food, my craft, the restaurant industry and people in general. I was proud to be a part of such an influential and professional publication. I still am.
The Weekly has covered Tucson for decades and had a reputation for its liberal leanings. The paper also had a great reputation for keeping track of local events and points of view. And while major national issues were a part of the mix, the focus was state and local and that was especially true for the Chow section.
In recent months the paper has dropped the reviewing of restaurants in favor of covering small restaurants, breweries and food business people. I suppose that’s fine, change is a good thing most of the time.The stories they’ve covered have been interesting and varied.
But in this week’s issue, the Chow section was about a chef who is executive chef at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. The chef was not from Tucson (he did attend the Scottsdale Culinary Institute); in fact, there was no Tucson connection in any form. Worst of all it was from a press service.
This is unheard of for the Weekly, especially in the Chow section. Why they chose to go this way is anyone’s guess. Was it a financial decision? Did the holidays play a part? Did the writer miss a deadline? I can’t say, all I know is that I was disappointed in both the content and the decision. I saw it as a signal that the Weekly is moving away from what it has been for over thirty years, a hard-hitting, local newspaper.
Just prior to my departure, the Weekly was bought by a company that owns numerous publications all over the West. They are not a journalism related company, but more of a for-profit business.
The Weekly has changed in many ways since they took over and not in a good way. While some of the long-time writers are still there, there are fewer staff writers and freelance contributors seem to come and go like water. The paper is considerably smaller in content and as far as quality goes, let’s just say, things are not any where near what they have been since the Weekly’s inception.
This post is not criticism and it certainly is not a eulogy by any means, just call it a a note of the changing times.