San Francisco Chronicle Hits Back At The New York Times Over Food Section Story

Sf-ChronicleThere is a food fight underway between The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle over the fate of Bay Area newspaper’s beloved food and wine section. 

As we wrote yesterdayThe New York Times, citing newsroom staffers, broke the news that San Francisco Chronicle was folding its stand-alone food section into a lifestyle section (tentatively called “Artisan”).While the merger would not result in layoffs, The Times reported that it would mean that the section would move from a separate building with a rooftop produce garden and honey producing bees and there would be no more test kitchen.

In a rare, but not unheard of, move for The Times, the paper granted the Chronicle sources anonymity to report on the yet-to-be announced news.

The original story in The Times noted that the Chronicle‘s publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, did not return request for comment. But after the story went up on the Times website, Chronicle managing editor Audrey Cooper posted a response on SFGate.com, the Chronicle‘s site, insisting that the Times story was inaccurate and calling the Times a competitor (The Times has since changed its story to include Ms. Cooper’s response).

“We’re disappointed by recent inaccurate reports in the New York Times, which has attempted to compete with us in this arena,” Ms. Cooper wrote.

We reached out to Ms. Cooper to find out more. In an email to The Observer, Ms. Cooper wrote:

The one thing yesterday’s misinformation should teach us all is that we shouldn’t speculate about what is going on in other newsrooms with partial information. I look at the battle to save and improve daily journalism as a really long bar fight—and all journalists should want to be on the same side. I greatly respect the Gray Lady and I’m very pleased that the reporter has rewritten the story a few times to better reflect the truth, which is what we want to capitalize on our food coverage and make it even more appealing to readers.

Ms. Cooper’s reaction may seem harsh, especially since we thought people were supposed to be more laid back on the West Coast. But then again, (as The Times noted), food culture is very important to in San Francisco.