In what has become a national epidemic, thousands of newspaper employees have lost their jobs as the demise of print media continues to grow. With newspapers scaling back their operations, restaurant critics have become a casualty in an effort to save some cash, replacing the full-time reviewer with part-time staff reviewers or freelancers. The problem has now spread to Miami where New Times' veteran, full-time restaurant critic Lee Klein has been shown the door in favor of a "corps of folks" - Emily Codik, Lesley Elliot, Zack Fagenson, and Bill Citara. Former freelancer Laine Doss is stepping up to oversee the New Times' digital food coverage.
New Times' editor Chuck Strouse gave the following statement to Eater on Klein's departure:
Lee is a great critic whom I have had the privilege to edit and work with for 14 years in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale. I hired him at the start. Given the extraordinary growth of our web traffic, we had to make a tough call -- and ended up hiring a staffer to oversee digital food coverage. Lee was laid off as a result. This is the kind of choice that is confronting every media outlet in the nation.
Food coverage will continue to be our highest priority, and the new folks who will be providing long form criticism will, in the medium term, gain the kind of national respect that has garnered Miami New Times writers -- exclusive of Lee -- multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, the Association of Food Journalists, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
[Art is a composite from the New Times.]