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Orlando-No more Scott Joseph

Just heard Scott Joseph was laid off from the Sentinel. Love him or hate him, it's a loss.

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  1. Wow - this is really sad to hear.

    While I didnt necessarily agree with him all the time, it's even more sad to see the degradation in quality of the Sentinel and all of the Tribune Company newspapers. Most recently the editor in chief of the LA Times stepped down after the Times (courtesy of Sam Zell) downsized much of its staff.

    Scott Joseph was one of the highlights of reading the Sentinel - I really think there is little left to salvage.

    1. are they replacing him, or just not having a food critic? the sentinel sucks hard, but it was nice getting his opinion on restaurants.

      1. I just heard that too. It's a trend of old-school media. They're all cutting costs wherever they can. I personally think they could have cut any number of other reporters instead...

        1. that's really sad to hear---definitely enjoyed his column. is this really true???

          1. restaurant reviews are a huge profit center for publications -- I can't believe the Sentinel would stop running them altogether.

            Scott was there for 20 years, and was probably making a nice salary. More likely they're replacing him with someone they can pay less.

            A very sad trend, not just for newspapers but for all businesses. How can anyone feel secure in his job?

            1. Is there any source that everyone is hearing this from?

              1 Reply
              1. I hate to see him go, his column was one of the only reasons to get the Sunday edition

                1 Reply
                1. re: jword2001

                  I noticed recently that his columns were becoming fewer and further between. i sensed a riff. He did have those famous pet peaves, over medium rare burgers, tacky decor,, yeah. It would be nice if we could have him on the chowhound board! Hey scott if you are reading let us know!!

                2. He had a new column online today & mentioned a future review of the Wave.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: beteez

                    While I don't know Scott personally, Beteez, we have many business friends in common and they have all confirmed that he is one of many who was handed walking papers last week. The rumor is true, and it's a shame.

                    1. re: rudykins

                      Do you know if Mike Thomas was also handed his walking papers?

                      1. re: bcodom

                        I don't know. The only other confirmation I have is Mark Pinskey, who did a brilliant job covering the religion beat.

                      2. re: rudykins

                        I've heard it from numerous sources and have seen an email from SJ that confirms that he is 'accepting a buyout of his contract'. I have heard that Mike Thomas was let go as well, but do not have confirmation of that.

                        1. re: herbert1

                          I just read in the Orlando Weekly that about 10 employees, Scott Joseph among them, took buyouts worth 2 weeks pay for every year they were employed. I looked forward to his reviews on Fridays and Sundays and his news about local restaurant happenings. He trashed some good places and had some ridiculous notions, but I respected his opinion and his tastes.

                          1. re: jdc111

                            I almost always agreed with his reviews of the food. His comments on service and atmosphere were sometimes offbase in my opinion. We will get a few more reviews from him, he and his entourage were out this past week evaluating new restaurants.

                    2. Scott Maxwell (Taking Names column in the Sentinel) had been on The Phillips Phile (104.1) talking about Scott Joseph last week when I originally posted. They mentioned a possible board/blog interactive online source for the Sentinel ratings, where the public's feedback would rate the local places, taking the place of an on staff critic.

                      The Foodie awards were always interesting to see Scott vs. the public. I saw there were 2 of his columns this weekend, wonder how many he had in the can?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: winechic

                        Does anyone really think that feedback from the public is an adequate susbtitute for a professional food critic?

                        to paraphrase what Winechic said in the original post, love them or hate them, pro critics have the accountability of writing under their own names (unlike anonymous "reader reviews," which are frequently restaurant staffers juking their own stats or running down their rivals), not to mention long-term experience and a (for most critics, anyway) a basic grounding in food writing, instead of "this place sux."

                        Not that I always or even often agreed with Scott. (I prefer Faiyaz Kara in the Orlando Weekly) But I simply don't trust "public feedback."

                        1. re: waffle789

                          The public are idiots who prefer Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's. This does not preclude, however, some good feedback from foodies. It will probably, however, be lost amongst the rampant idiocy that inhabits many internet user forums.

                          1. re: jdc111

                            I'm curious, how do these peoples preferences make them "idiots"?, could it be that these folks cant afford to eat at better places, or could there be many other factors in their preferences?, calling them idiots seems a bit harsh,and uncalled for.

                            1. re: jword2001

                              Whether to trust reviews, written by a pro or not, really depends on your experience with an individual critic. There are some newspapers that will only review places that advertise in their paper. There are some who will only allow positive reviews, never negative ones, on the stated grounds that they're trying to provide readers with tips on places to go, not places to avoid. Does the newspaper insist that the newspaper itself will pay for the meals - or do the reviewers accept freebies? Or even more? It takes time to build trust for an individual reviewer - professional or amateur. Newspapers are in economic trouble. Good reviews can bring in advertising money. Allowing reporters to accept freebies can reduce expenses, and maybe allow the newspaper to actually keep a food reviewer on staff; But it damages reliability. Some amateurs do a really good job of reviewing restaurants; just look at the boards on Chowhound. Some amateurs - and some pros - don't provide much information that is helpful. I believe it was Craig Claiborne at the New York Times who persuaded the paper in the 1950s that the paper would have much more credibility if it paid for meals. But, there was book by Karen and John Hess (The Taste of America, 1975) that alleged that Claiborne and others (such as James Beard) were influenced by money paid to them for endorsements or other commercial connections by companies in the food business.

                              1. re: jword2001

                                There are plenty of locally-owned options out there, at the same price points as the restaurants I mentioned, with infinitely better food and service than those chains. Instead of Olive Garden, hit Il Pescatore. Instead of Pizza Hut, hit up Brick & Fire. Instead of McDonalds, hit up Jazzy Dog Cafe or Cecil's BBQ or Graffiti Junktion.

                        2. looks like his last review was today. He left in style. Also with a great review of a new restaurant, chef's table in winter garden.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: yellekscorp

                            Yep, Chefs Table at Edgewater Hotel table really does do a good job. I completely agree with the review.


                            1. Those of us flipping through the Sunday Sentinel saw the large banner announcing Heather McPherson, Food Editor, is taking over the dining reviews.

                              Heather's Intro:


                              Seems the Sentinel will be keeping Heather very busy!!


                              1. I just subscribed to the Orlando Sentinal and realized that Scott Joseph was no longer there. Looks like Heather McPherson is taking on a bunch of duties now. Good luck filling those shoes....

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: jword2001

                                    i wish Scott would have his picks for the foodie awards on his website. Heather's picks didn't seem to reflect much in the way of a true foodie.