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Why do some restaurants get incredible amounts of media coverage....?

  • 30-09-2022 3:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭

    Was reading the indo online today and I see an article about this food truck - and I think "this is the 5th or 6th time I've read an article about these punters in the last couple of years"

    And by this I mean article in national newspaper, Irish Times, Indo or maybe RTE online.

    No doubt they do a good sandwich, but so do plenty of other places.

    Whenever there's an article about great places to eat in Dublin, there is one place local to me that ALWAYS gets a mention. There are 20 or so eateries locally here (Glasnevin area) - personally I wouldnt put this place in my top five. Its nice enough, its grand. And of course, its hip. But the other places that are really really good.....dont get a mention.

    Am just confused as to why the media lands on some spots and champions them over and over, and other very fine places never ever get a mention.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 2,993 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep

    I do think sometimes the roster of chefs, restaurants and products that get coverage in the likes of the Irish Times food columns is a little repetitive. Is there a bit of reaching for the same names and telephone number going on every week? It can feel that way.

    The positive take is that the food scene in Ireland is not that big, and there are not that many new openings when it comes to businesses trying to do something innovative or high end. There are middle of the road sandwich shops and cafe bars that come and go, but it might be not that often a sandwich shop like 147 Deli opens, or a ramen place like Nomo Ramen (Just plucking examples here but you get my drift). If the progressive end of the market is pushed more heavily because it's more unusual then I don't have a problem with that so much.

    Reg White, for example, seems to bounce from involvement in one high end pizza businesses to another, whether employed, consulting or as the proprieter .. Pi Pizza, Little Forest, his pop-ups at Alta, Bambino... He's regularly mentioned in the Irish Times food columns... But he's doing a lot of stuff to be written about, so...

    Now the cynical take on it...

    Although journalists should be a little bit removed from the food and hospitality scene, for professional reasons, the reality is they meet in the course of their work and friendships and mutual love-ins are formed.

    I have journalists in the family and it's a constant stick we beat them with, the number of junkets and events they go to. I know one couple in journalism, both writing and editing on food and hospitality, who are personal friends with several restaurateurs, chefs and hoteliers. It's just not realistic that their coverage is going to be impartial. On the other hand, the country being the size it is, is it surprising that these people with such overlapping interests don't hang out and form relationships?

    There are some careers where the public really expect that you will not compromise yourself, and there but when writing about hospitality there seems to be no real compunction about it. Restaurant reviewers pay for their meals, but I always think it's odd that travel writers will accept being guests of hotels and travel agents. Is it surprising their reviews are usually very positive?

    As far as the place in Glasnevin goes... I'm a northsider too. I think there's a reality that a lot of the people writing about food in Ireland don't live here and don't come from here. It's changing slowly, but I still remember the review of Da Mimo a few years ago which memorably compared North Strand to Beirut, and breathlessly praised the bravery of everyone concerned.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 11,843 Mod ✭✭✭✭miamee

    It's a lot of what @Black Sheep has said and also people can be lazy. If a nice press release arrives in their inbox telling them all they need to know about some new restaurant why would they go out scouting for something themselves? So some get written about because they know the right people and some will have employed someone to do their PR getting the word out there.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 2,993 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep

    I should have said as well... It's Dublin-centric to say the least.

    If there's a review of somewhere in a provincial town or a far-flung country then usually it's because someone is on their hols ....

    C'est la vie.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Its down to whoever consistently answers the phone in part. During the pandemic, the same three or four publicans were always on as the reps for the entire sector - one was deputy chair of their representative body at least, but the others were just easily, and most importantly, always, available.

    Another was always available and the pub was really close to where a Virgin Media reporter lives!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    Wasnt there something similar when the Bernard Shaw moved to Phibsboro - speaking of which the same Bernard Shaw was a regular feature on the The Irish Times when it resided in Portobello but seems to have dropped off the media map now that its northside.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,396 ✭✭✭Tombo2001

    Thinking about it, they are probably influenced by whichever has the most instagram followers.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,555 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    yeah and I remember during the pandemic on Irish tv there was that restauranteur Gina something or other who runs Hugos on Merrion Row, she almost had a daily slot on RTE/TV3 for a good while when the debates about re-opening bars and restaurants were ongoing.

    What always annoyed me about those interviews (and the ones with the regular rota of publicans) was that they were allowed to say whatever they liked without being challenged by the journalist interviewing them. So we ended up with publicans and restaurateurs who were suddenly experts on a deadly airborne virus and proclaiming their premises as 'safe'. They were all softball interviews where these vested interests were allowed a free run to go against scientific and medical evidence. And we know how that ended up in late January 2021 when there was several days of 100+ deaths from Covid per day. To me that was a failure of journalism and whats worse is they went back to the same well the following summer with all the same talking heads declaring their premises as safe.

    I think as you said it is a combination of these people always making themselves available for a handy interview and soundbite and journalists just needing someone reliable who they know wont let them down when arranging to send a van out with tv cameras & sound engineers to interview them later that day. It doesnt make for good journalism though imo.