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Should " a guy I know" write under an assumed name


Chris Cognac
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I am tending to think that it would be best to use an assumed name/identity to write the advertorial reviews and that would also provide some much needed experience and opportunity. I think that maybe "that guy" might have to keep his byline apart from the other one.....

Using an assumed name is short term.

Eventually, if you develop as a food writer / reviewer, it will likely become known that at one point in your career you wrote paid reviews, your opinion was (and who knows maybe still is) for sale. That stigma can only damage your credibility in the long term.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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If it's a clearly marked advertorial, then there need not even be a byline.

The byline gives the advertisement the respectibility of the reputation of the person whose byuline it is, at the expense of the ultimate value of the byline.

QUOTE (Chris Cognac @ Jan 21 2004, 11:19 AM)

Its "advertorial" type...its actually a well done advertisment written by a food writer...it's complete with the border around it and the word "advertisment" next to the column so there is no fooling anyone into thinking its a critical review..Kind of like the travel ad/articles in the magazines QUOTE

Bullshit. There are only two assumptions that can be made. They are exclusive of each other. The first is that a food writer wrote an honest review that was so favorable to the restaurant that they chose to pay to have it reprinted. The only other alternative is that the writer's opinion is always for sale at the right price.

I don't thnk ads normally have bylines. Commercial writing is a different game. It's designed to sell. Reviews are there to inform.

And if the writer is doing an advertorial, his/her opinion probably won't be given much play. It will sound like an opinion, but if the resto is paying for the writeup, I would imagine they would want some serios input as to what is written. In pieces like that, the fact that it is an advertorial is made clear, so there's no assumption on the part of the reader that what they are reading is objective. I'd like to think that a publication wouldn't be dumb enough to allow a review to be reprinted as an advertorial....

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"A guy I know", who already writes a food column for a Los Angeles newspaper in which he is able to choose what/where he writes about. Its published every other week....anyway.."this guy I know" was contacted yesterday to write food reviews for 3 other publications (weekly) that his newspaper has purchased....The reviews are for places that buy large ad contracts and are supposed to be "good" reviews...the reviews are not passed of as being critical type reviews and it states that its an ad type thing..."this guy I know's" existing column would not be affected....the question I pose is this...should "this guy" publish under a false name...or his real name since it will be in multiple publications in some high end area's in order to gain exposure/experiance...not to mention that its some extra cash and the chance to eat at some great places "He" might not eat at otherwise!

What do you guys think?

Take the money, fix up your house, and take you wife and kids on vacation :biggrin:

Edited by GordonCooks (log)
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I guess it is more along the lines of writing ad copy, creating a product....one that would enhance writing skills and a person can actually be proud of doing....Saying, hey I wrote this ad campain for x amount of months...look at how well it went, blah blah blah.....You can chalk it up for the "things youve done" catagory as far as a resume goes....

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I am tending to think that it would be best to use an assumed name/identity to write the advertorial reviews and that would also provide some much needed experience and opportunity. I think that maybe "that guy" might have to keep his byline apart from the other one.....

Using an assumed name is short term.

Eventually, if you develop as a food writer / reviewer, it will likely become known that at one point in your career you wrote paid reviews, your opinion was (and who knows maybe still is) for sale. That stigma can only damage your credibility in the long term.

I would caution against taking the copywriting job because of its close association with the professional career, but I believe many people have gotten away with keeping their commerical nom de plume separate from their professional ones and I understand the pragmatic issues. To not understand the professionally harm most likely to ensue from writing both columns under the same name is what puzzles me. It doesn't sound as if the writer has though much about a real future as a professional culinary writer.

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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I'd like to think that a publication wouldn't be dumb enough to allow a review to be reprinted as an advertorial....

It's common for a publication to allow reviews to be reprinted as advertisements. I don't know how an advertorial is any different from any other advertisement once it's identified as advertisement. I've seen negative reviews reprinted with a positive spin in the most credible publications. Maybe I'm missing something on this comment.

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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I guess it is more along the lines of writing ad copy, creating a product....one that would enhance writing skills and a person can actually be proud of doing....Saying, hey I wrote this ad campain for x amount of months...look at how well it went, blah blah blah.....You can chalk it up for the "things youve done" catagory as far as a resume goes....

What are the abstract goals here? Is the writer interested in a writing career in general, preferrably outside the culinary arena? If reviewing restaurants is even a minor consideration, any commercial connection with the restaurant industry is likely to be a red flag to any respectable culinary or general interest publication when hiring a restaurant reviewer. If one wants to review art or movies, fine. If one wants to review restaurants on the east coast, maybe. If it's restaurant reviews in the same region as the one in which advertising copy is being written, the best advice is to keep that part of life a secret. That a current employer has no problem with a writer doing both and using the same byline also says a lot.

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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I am tending to think that it would be best to use an assumed name/identity to write the advertorial reviews and that would also provide some much needed experience and opportunity. I think that maybe "that guy" might have to keep his byline apart from the other one.....

Using an assumed name is short term.

Eventually, if you develop as a food writer / reviewer, it will likely become known that at one point in your career you wrote paid reviews, your opinion was (and who knows maybe still is) for sale. That stigma can only damage your credibility in the long term.

I would caution against taking the copywriting job because of its close association with the professional career, but I believe many people have gotten away with keeping their commerical nom de plume separate from their professional ones and I understand the pragmatic issues. To not understand the professionally harm most likely to ensue from writing both columns under the same name is what puzzles me. It doesn't sound as if the writer has though much about a real future as a professional culinary writer.

I absolutely agree that writng both under the same name is career suicide, if in fact the chosen career is exclusively food writing. If, however, we are dealing with a freelance "generalist", then I say write both, but the advertorials shouldn't get bylines.

And if publications are reprinting reviews as ads then they are compromising the professional future of a serious food writer because even without the byline, the "ad" has already been seen and recognized as an objective review.

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No matter how the advertorials are labeled or sectioned you should not use your name for both these advertisements (it is what they are) and your regular column.

There will be no way, at some point, for people to distinguish between one or the other. If you are going to do it offer to write with no name (best case scenerio) or with a nom de plume (this would be ok, but not preferable to no name).

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I would give them a counteroffer to do an advetorial without the review. Why bother to eat at a restaurant if you cannot review the food? Instead, treat it more like a restaurant profile.

Get a couple of glowing quotes from an owner, worker, or customer. If someone says it's the best steak dinner they've ever had, use it. But since it's not coming from you, it's not your review.

Then describe what the menu offers, the convenient location, things like that. It would still give the restaurant the publicity it wants without putting you in a position of recommending a place you wouldn't send your worse enemy to.

Either way, I would use a different name or, preferably, no byline at all. You can always tell an editor that you wrote something, but once your name is permanently attached you can't take it back.

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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I would give them a counteroffer to do an advetorial without the review. Why bother to eat at a restaurant if you cannot review the food? Instead, treat it more like a restaurant profile.

Get a couple of glowing quotes from an owner, worker, or customer. If someone says it's the best steak dinner they've ever had, use it. But since it's not coming from you, it's not your review.

Then describe what the menu offers, the convenient location, things like that. It would still give the restaurant the publicity it wants without putting you in a position of recommending a place you wouldn't send your worse enemy to.

Either way, I would use a different name or, preferably, no byline at all. You can always tell an editor that you wrote something, but once your name is permanently attached you can't take it back.

Thats exactly what it would be....a profile on what you can eat, how much, what the atmosphere is,etc.....

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I'm torn between one man's whoring is another man's rent money and "Extra! Extra! Integrity for sale! Get it while it's hot." :unsure:

I guess "that guy" has to ask himself where the breakpoint is dollarwise. And how much of their income will be made from the credibility of their writing in the future. You can't unring the bell. Remember that.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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