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Sun-Times To Stop Publishing Food Section? [UPDATE]

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 5, 2013 7:20PM

2013_3_6_SunTimes.png A sad rumor was floating around the interwebz this morning: Reportedly, the Sun-Times will no longer be publishing a food section. As a regular contributor to the section, I'm personally unhappy with the situation. On a larger level, this seems to be yet another unfortunate example of a publication that is unable to make quality food journalism pay the bills.

We reached out to both Sue Ontiveros (editor of the Food Section) and Managing Editor Craig Newman for comment; we'll update this post when we hear more.

The food section of the Sun-Times was a great opportunity for newcomers to get their feet wet with major features. They published my first big feature article (here it is) and because the Sun-Times took freelancer submissions for the cover, they were a regular place for less experienced journalists to get an early start. At the same time, veteran writers like David Hammond and Jennifer Olvera kept the section solid.

Restaurant reviews from the talented Michael Nagrant are part of another section and will hopefully not be affected.

Update (3/6): Mike Gebert at Grubstreet Chicago found some more information in The Daily Meal. Oddly, the Sun-Times didn't respond to any local requests for information, but apparently gave a statement to Daily meal.

The food section is being replaced with an outsourced advertorial section called Taste. "TASTE, however, will be produced separately by Custom Media Solutions, meaning the content won't be produced by Sun-Times food writers," according to the statement the ST gave the Daily Meal. So more bland, advertorial content with no connection to the local food scene. It's sure to be a big hit. Here's hoping its at least cheaper than the food section.

Update 2: We just got an official statement from the Sun-Times.

"Sun-Times Media will introduce TASTE on Wednesday March 13th, which replaces the Sun-Times’ Food section. Produced by STM’s Custom Media Solutions, TASTE combines new food-related content, such as a weekly Menu Planner and a DeVine Wine column, with new advertising opportunities to gain revenue for the company."