First, It Scales Back on Wine Coverage, Now It's Dumping Restaurant Reviews Too
The Wall Street Journal's going all schizoid on us, and it has nothing to do with its wacked-out editorial page.
At the same time, the Murdochian paper of record for the financial set is ramping up with a mysteriously intriguing New York edition, it's nipping and tucking other resources, and not for the better.
Pete Wells reports in The New York Times food blog that restaurant critic Raymond Sokolov called it quits after he was asked to cover food trends instead because the paper was abandoning restaurant reviews.
Sokolov, who had ridden a most-filling gravy train filing entertaining and informed reviews from all over the country, demurred.
Maybe the bean counters got all cheesed off when Sokolov filed a column from Vegas, where among his stops was a new Japanese restaurant called Shaboo, where the tab runs $500 a head. Tax, tip, and wine extra. And he wasn't dining alone.
But those kind of expense reports didn't seem to bother the Journal much, though that seems to have changed more ever since ol' Rupe got his mitts on the paper.
In December, the Journal dumped the husband-and-wife team of John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, who wrote an estimable wine column.
The Journal, just like it promises with restaurants, didn't abandon wine coverage entirely. But it's more intermittent and largely devoid of insight let alone personality.
Sokolov's departure means yet another reason the Journal's Saturday lifestyle coverage is less appetizing.
What was once a must-read over the weekend is now a I'll-maybe-get-to-it-if-I-have-time-after-reading-the-Times-and-FT read.
At a time when he's adding a New York edition, Murdoch should be running headlong at his competition, not running from it.