I can't speak for Rupert Murdoch, but I've been working as a food journalist for several years, in Tucson and now the Bay Area, and have yet to be reimbursed for my meals. Newspapers don't have no money. Food is expensive. I wish papers would pick up the check, but it just doesn't happen anymore. The age of the anonymous, objective food writer is (sadly?) drawing to a close.
I mostly agree, but I think comp dinners and free events can often be used to a writer's advantage. In the business today, there's simply no way to afford the constant demand of covering new restaurants/products/personalities every day. I often feel ignorant of important movements like wine culture, etc., because I can't afford to drink wine seriously. The concept of a fully-funded food journalist is archaic, and most people have no other choice but to let PR companies aid them in their quest for knowledge. Make no mistake, food journalism is not news reporting: it's as much about your personality and choices as it is about your subject matter. Every food journalist must find a balance and do what's best for their work, and their belly.
I don't understand why that place is always empty. It's really good food in my opinion, and cheap too!
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