The a variety of interesting things he writes about, but the one I focused on is the following:
The reason comps exist is simply BECAUSE media cannot afford the money required to make food and travel sections possible. It is on record that the NY Times spends well over $100,000 on its restaurant critic’s expenses each year. I doubt very many newspapers, excepting the very biggest, have paid $20,000 and more for their restaurant critics to spend in one year. I’ve had such jobs, and believe me, if I went over $1,000 a month, I heard about it from my editor. How many other papers or magazines, now with chronically reduced bugets and staff, can afford to spend anything close to that amount? Which is why they pick up so much freelance and syndicated material and never asked who paid for what.
This is something that Steven Shaw had mentioned as well. For all this talk of ethical standards that the New York Times and other similar institutions put on their payed staff, these standards not only do not apply to freelancers, but cannot. For if the freelancers were forced to pay their own way, they’d never be able to work as food or travel writers.
He also touches upon the Moto comments as well as the Cleveland comments. For those who are interested in this story, his posts (and the subsequent ones) are a must read.
Kudos to eGullet and to Mr. Mariani for helping clarify this episode.
Which reminds me. From here on out, I will endeavor to let you guys know of any influences that may bias my own opinions. I’ll codify into a post the same way that I documented the PR Agreement post.