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Jul 17, 2008 07:44 AM

Redundant Phx Reviews [moved from Southwest board]

I am not sure if this post belongs here (hopefully, since it's Phoenix-specific) or in the Media section, but has anyone else noticed the redudancy of the reviews in Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, New Times, AZ Central, etc?

Specifcially, now that Nikki is no longer at Phoenix Magazine word on the street is that they are using freelance writers for the restaurant section and the editor dictates what restaurants are reviewed, not the food writers. This means that many of the hidden "gems" that the foodies know about will never get exposure, because the editor is dictating the content.

In the same week, both the New Times and Arizona Republic reviewed Roka Akor. Within a week, Phoenix Magazine and the Arizona Republic reviewed Cafepino....BOTH written by the same writer (Carey Sweet) but for a different publication! How much more redundant can we get and, rhetorically, how much does this limit the ability of smaller places to have their story heard?

This practice at Phoenix Magazine also brings into question the independence of the editorial content versus advertising revenue. Nikki was heavily criticized for her "Luc's Sucks" review and in the first issue where Nikki wasn't there, Luc's had a huge "advertorial" in the magazine. Coincidence? Probably not. How can the food writers not have a say in what places they write about?

Maybe there is a limited number of "qualified" food writers in this town, but it seems to me that as a major metropolis our media could do a better job of sharing the wealth and ensuring that we don't see the same places reviewed, at the same time, by the same writers...within a week of eachother!

Must be nice for the writers who get paid by-the-story...they can re-use their content for a variety of publications!

Has anyone else noticed this?

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  1. Yes, I had deja vu this morning when I read the Calendar section....
    I felt as if I was reading last weeks paper!

    it seems that Pizza a Metro has been reviewed in both the New Times and the Republic in the past 2 weeks as well!

    1. Did I see that Nikki is now working at the Republic? I think I remember seeing her byline in an article in last week's food section.

      1. On the other hand, Nikki Buchanan just wrote a nice review of Sabor Cubano for the Republic. If that's not a hidden gem, I don't know what is.

        As for the convergence of reviewers on certain places -- I think it's fed by discussion forums like this one. The Internet allows new places to generate buzz much more quickly, creating awareness among multiple reviewers at the same time. Instead of seeing it as redundancy, I see it as a bell curve, something Seth Chadwick has mentioned before. Take the totality of reviews by professionals working for the media, discussion on sites like this one, reviews on amateur food blogs, and everything adds up to a pretty realistic picture of a restaurant not distorted by any one reviewer's biases.

        1. I thought I read Buchanan's reviews for Republic are gonna be "every day" places, that shouldn't duplicate places Seftel reviews. I suspect she will concentrate on smaller places that are worthy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: razordogg

            True. My comments were more directed at the fact that Carey Sweet, who writes for Phx Mag and Republic, is reviewing the same places for different publications!

          2. As someone who's worked as a food/restaurant writer n the Phoenix market, I agree; the food editorial in this town is becoming far too incestuous and in-bred. There are only a small handful of "critics" left, chasing the same handful of restaurants, too many of which are new, high end, or the ventures of celebrity chefs and proprietors. And while the food press pays lip service to the need for showcasing smaller yet no-less-worthy operators, editors and publishers demand the more obvious loyalty to advertisers that's demonstrated through the lack of diversity we see.