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News Tue Jun 28 2011

Journalistic ethics in food writing: how close is too close to a source?

Nagrant1.jpgChicago food writer Michael Nagrant and the 312 Dining Diva Audarshia Townsend have gotten themselves into a mini Twitter tiff -- which bring up some interesting points about journalistic ethics.

It started with Nagrant tweeting at Trib reporter Mark Caro about how "a lot of journos would just rather be BFF's with their sources than journalists."Audarshia.jpg

Townsend questioned him, saying, "@MichaelNagrant Didn't YOU collaborate/w a prominent chef on a book?! Now if THAT is not BFF . . ." and it ultimately devolved to Nagrant telling her that he's had fewer than 10 comps in his career, "easy," and later tweeting, "@Audarshia Don't question my ethics when yours are much lower."

What do you think about the state of journalistic ethics in the food-writing/blogging industry in Chicago?

Mike Gebert / June 28, 2011 1:35 PM

I think ethical distance is important, but most of all I THINK YOU SHOULD TRY THE NEW BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITWICH AT SMORESIES!!!

bif / June 28, 2011 1:55 PM

do people actually read the dining diva? i mean, people who enjoy great food?

Charlotte Tan / June 28, 2011 2:43 PM

Dining Diva (from what I have seen) is really an outlet for restaurants' PR people to announce openings and whatnot. Audarshia really does not write about the food, she doesn't even seem to take the photos in her posts. In fact, it looks like most of the photography is courtesy of the restaurant or some PR firm. In fact, IMO Dining Diva exists so that Audarshia can get the VIP treatment (comp'ed food, table reservations, etc) at Chicago's restaurants.

That said, I do not read Dining Diva. Because I am more interested in what someone thinks about the food, and less about what a restaurant looks like, what specials it is running, and the PR firms are trying to put out there.

If there is good food, I will find the place, without Diving Diva's help.

Nik / June 29, 2011 8:20 AM

I can see one thing for certain: ethics in both dining & journalistic tweeting is at an all-time low. Apparently neither of these people have ever heard of taking the high road.

As far as foodies go, I will trust a friend's opinion much more than I will a "critic's" simply because a friend knows my tastes & will take that into consideration rather than their own.

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