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Influence on Diners: Professional Fishing Terminology on Menus


KatyM
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I guess it comes down to: Information is good, but only if you know how to interpret that information.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Information is good, but only if you trust your informant. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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In the course of reading up on Sel de la Terre, bistro sibling to L'Espalier in Boston, I stumbled across a review by the Boston Globe. It refers to, among other things, the following: "An appetizer of **grilled trap squid** sings with a robust red wine sauce, lots of thyme, parsley, and other herbs, and the salty bite of capers. The trap designation refers, Gardner says in a phone interview, to the fact that the squid were caught in traps and brought in that day, in the same manner as dayboat fish or lobster. "

http://ae.boston.com/dining/globe_review/253

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I'm not sure how much of that information is really useful to the end consumer as it appears the top restaurants may use a term to mean one thing, but other restaurants down the line use it to mean something else. The range being from fresh scallops havested by a diver to large frozen scallops. In the end, your only guarantee is the reputation of the chef who's writing up the menu. If you're eating scallops at le Bernardin, you have every right to expect them to be the very best available in NY at that time of year and it really doesn't matter what the menu says, but I value the information as education rather than as a guaranty.

Yeah Bux, both restaurants *and* vendors.

I had raised the point that Le Bernadin carries much more credibility with me than Moe's Sea Shack & Fish Emporium.

Nick :smile:

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"Line caught" - means km long lines with flesh tearing hooks, which drag thousands of Albatrosses to the deaths each year.

I just figured "line caught" meant the use of thoughtful, witty, somewhat amusing banter to attract a person in whom one has an interest.

Note: works best when the subject of interest is extremely drunk, or in a dark, smoky room, or thinks you are fabulously rich, or, best, all of the above.

I wonder if Katy has enough to write her article, or if she's given up and gone over the to the hungry dog for inspiration?

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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  • 2 weeks later...

Article is in the Thursday issue.

Looks competent and well researched, will post link later under a new thread, if nobody else beats me to it...

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Was it apparent how or if this eGullet thread was used in the article? Was the site or anyone credited or was the author simply fishing for information--i.e. start a thread, read thread, write a better article and accept credit for it?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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There was no mention of eGullet. It wasn't clear to me that the responses on this thread were taken into consideration, as virtually every statement in the article was attributed to a chef or industry source.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yeah, it doesnt seem as if any direct information from our replies was present.  I spoke with her on the phone back when she was researching, but it wasnt apparent that any of that made it either.

Ben

Well...

Cabrales mentioned both Trotter's Diver Sea Scallop and Sel le Terre in Boston, both chefs were quoted. Ngatti mentioned Jack Rent at Pierless Fish, Jack was quoted.

I'll reiterate what I said in the other post. This is a well written, fair, and reasonably researched piece. I like Katy's style.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a future article on eGullet driving sales of 10,000 Spiegelau wine glasses via Amazon, or Steve Plotnicki's recommendation of an unrecognized wine cleaning out shelves. There's an article in the same edition about how bot "fare finders" are cleaning the clocks at several airlines.

It's all the same thing, disseminating information before the masses know...

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I wonder about Katy's style. (Apologies Katy.) And I'm not talking about what appears on the printed page. She gets points for coming clean, identifying herself and her project rather than merely lurking and trolling for ideas anonymously. She's a professional getting paid for her work. What I worry about is mining eGullet for leads on whom to call--using eGulleteer's knowledge and willingness to share specifics--which appears--appears--to have enabled her to ask more informed questions of the named or quoted sources. Is it coincidence that these "sources" just happen to have been contacted? Is it problematic if Katy "found" her chefs and industry sources here and did not, in turn, work eGullet somehow into the text of her article?

To me, that's how you say thank you. Give credit where credit is due. Not that I contributed meaningfully to this post--but I for one might be wary of contributing to future queries on her part. I have enough trouble working on my own stuff I don't really have the time to help others write their own articles without attribution.

The only salient question as far as I'm concerned is whether Katy was aware of the Trotter, Sel de terre and Jack Rent leads independent of eGullet? Or, am I being a bit puritanical here, did eGulleteers share because that's what we do and to borrow Shaw's words, did Katy "show the right kind of polite interest?" I wonder if anyone else will hesitate a bit before responding to any future post from Katy?

As an example, Bill Daley, a talented writer for the Hartford Courant deserving of greater exposure, has posted queries to eGullet for information in the past--and gave credit where credit was due when he used information he gleaned here in the resulting article. Would that all writers do the same.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Maybe I missed something, but I didn't see anything in her article that couldn't have come from somewhere else. Couldn't see anything that came from our posts. It's okay; we pitched in.

I didn't learn anything from it - since being on the coast, I knew most of it.

But, it was well written and maybe it says something that it was noted on the front page under "Inside Today's Journal."

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I wonder about Katy's style.  (Apologies Katy.) And I'm not talking about what appears on the printed page.  She gets points for coming clean, identifying herself and her project rather than merely lurking and trolling for ideas anonymously. She's a professional getting paid for her work.  What I worry about is mining eGullet for leads on whom to call--using eGulleteer's knowledge and willingness to share specifics--which appears--appears--to have enabled her to ask more informed questions of the named or quoted sources.  Is it coincidence that these "sources" just happen to have been contacted?  Is it problematic if Katy "found" her chefs and industry sources here and did not, in turn, work eGullet somehow into the text of her article?

To me, that's how you say thank you.  Give credit where credit is due.  Not that I contributed meaningfully to this post--but I for one might be wary of contributing to future queries on her part.  I have enough trouble working on my own stuff I don't really have the time to help others write their own articles without attribution.

The only salient question as far as I'm concerned is whether Katy was aware of the Trotter, Sel de terre and Jack Rent leads independent of eGullet?  Or, am I being a bit puritanical here, did eGulleteers share because that's what we do and to borrow Shaw's words, did Katy "show the right kind of polite interest?"  I wonder if anyone else will hesitate a bit before responding to any future post from Katy?

As an example, Bill Daley, a talented writer for the Hartford Courant deserving of greater exposure, has posted queries to eGullet for information in the past--and gave credit where credit was due when he used information he gleaned here in the resulting article.  Would that all writers do the same.

What I worry about is mining eGullet for leads on whom to call--using eGulleteer's knowledge and willingness to share specifics--which appears--appears--to have enabled her to ask more informed questions of the named or quoted sources. Is it coincidence that these "sources" just happen to have been contacted? Is it problematic if Katy "found" her chefs and industry sources here and did not, in turn, work eGullet somehow into the text of her article?

I'm quiet, I lurk, you may not hear from me again for ages.

You worry about things that may be happening, could be happening done in by lurkers who aren't being upfront, and worrying about being "paid".

If I were Katy, I'd be offended. I would have prefered this be taken to an email rather than public forum level. You're being accusing and demanding, without having facts. I agree with you, if you use a source, it provides significant information for your end result, you need to publically recognize it.

However I equally strongly feel, one shouldn't make public admondishments, and cry foul without knowing for sure.

Either way, it's a compliment. Take it as such. I've been reading for 6 months and never posted. Any reason I couldn't have used the same information in the same way, and not left a pixel trail?

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No, you could have and if you were a pro, and some reader read your work and found interesting parallels to discussions we've had here, we'd mention that publicly as well, especially to see if the writer--you-- moved the story forward in any way or merely regurgitated the thinking and effort that's already been shown here. It is all out in the open here, perceived admonishments as well.

I'm not crying foul nor making public admonishments--unless you feel my use of the word "appears" and my posing about 5 questions is the SAME thing as making statements and passing judgement. I don't.

The truth hurts sometimes, though, and Katy knows the answers to the questions I posed. So do the eGulleteers she communicated with publicly and privately via e-mail.

And just so you don't think I'm piling on Katy--on another thread I called attention to the fact that one of Katy's previous stories--on how diners and the public can be misled by untruths in labelling--appeared to be getting ripped off by some writer in Chicago who wrote a piece similar to the one she outlined but quoted local chefs. It's here somewhere, maybe you could follow the link, read both and tell me if you think I over-reached on that one as well?

My questions, indelicate as they may be, still stand.

Personally, not on behalf of the site, I'd wish some of the solicited private communications and discussions, tips, leads, questions asked, which took place offline--instead took place on the thread, so all could be privy to the twists and leads followed up, etc. But then I've always liked good reporting, good stories and a paper trail. And this is a free-speech zone after all.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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FWIW, I'm a tech journalist (for IDG's news service), and I often do what Katy did: Post on boards to say, hey, I'm researching topic whatever, anyone have ideas/leads/etc? Unless I'm quoting directly from the online group, or quoting one of its founders or leaders, I rarely include the group's name in the final piece. That's pretty standard journalistic practise. You draw background information from lots of places, and it would just drag the story down to source everything back to its earliest origin. I can quote, say (to use a recent example) several Lotus system administrators without also adding that I found all those administrators though an online Lotus user forum.

There's definitely something to be said for karma, and if you draw over and over again on one group or source for material, it's nice to find a way to acknowledge that, but it's not a standard operating practise for the profession. A journalist who took pains to do that would be the exception, not the norm.

And as far as ripping off other reporter's ideas and reworking them with a local angle, that's also par for the course. It's not considered unethical, just lazy.

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Thanks, Kiz, for that post. I guess it is what might be accepted as "pretty standard journalistic practise" and the line between lazy and unethical which gets me hung up sometimes. But then as a chef, if I use someone's recipe, I say it's Philippe Conticini's or from Michel Bras unless I have re-worked and adapted it significantly. Even then I try to say I developed this from an idea I originally saw so-and-so do.

When you post on boards for leads do you pose anonymously? Do you treat the content and have separate rules for sourcing on newer media--"boards"--apart from the content you might read published in older media or print publications that then spark ideas in your head? I see a problem developing with the justification for separate policies, especially if the sourcing, leads and tips garnered from the online source is more knowing, more knowledgeable, more helpful--and certainly more timely than that in the traditional print media, research the old fashioned way, don't you?

It also might be--convenient--for print writers to feel this way about online sources of information.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Thanks, Kiz, for that post.  I guess it is what might be accepted as "pretty standard journalistic practise" and the line between lazy and unethical which gets me hung up sometimes.

It gets journalists hung up as well -- an industry ethics brawl will usually pop up every few weeks in medianews' letters section. It's a profession with lots of gray area.

It might help for me to throw in that two things definitely in the unethical pile are a) misrepresenting what you're doing, or b) directly lifting, without sourcing, either verbatim comments or information you've not otherwise confirmed.

In the misrepresenting pile, it's not kosher to post on a board looking for info intended for an article without saying that's what you're doing, or to lie in any way. Posting anonymously would fall into that -- you can't post, say 'hey, anyone know about <whatever>?' and then use that information without identifying yourself and your publication. So, yes, when I post looking for leads, I always give my name and affiliation.

On point b, it's likewise very bad to directly copy information without attributing it. If someone on a board (or offline, or anywhere else) says 'Gramercy Tavern serves three salmon dishes,' and the journalist for whatever reason can't independently confirm that, then they'd better be sourcing the information back to whoever said it, for all the usual reasons you source things (basically, to let the readers know where the information came from so then can judge for themselves its accuracy, and to cover yourself in case it's wrong).

But many things can be independantly confirmed, and should be. So if the journalist rings up GT and confirms that yup, three salmon dishes, there's no reason to trace the info back to the original source -- even if that original source is the only reason you knew to ask about the salmon.

How to treat old media vs new media is one of those ongoing industry debates, and every publication has its own policies, formal or informal. Personally, I treat them the same, except I draw more frequently on online/new media sources. But unless it's directly relevant to the story, or necessary for sourcing, I usually don't mention the places I used for background research.

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Personally, I treat them the same

I can't think of an argument for doing it any other way.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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