Freelance food writer Michael C. Zusman (related only in vocation to WW Editor in Chief Mark Zusman) has been cut as a freelance food writer for the Oregonian after five years, according to an email sent out by Zusman today.
Zusman says the news came from O's A&E Editor DeAnn Welker via email, and follows on from an incident two weeks ago in which: "DeAnn told me that if I did not pump up an ambivalent review I had submitted, she was going to kill the review. I told her that would be dishonest and a disservice to readers, and could not do so. She killed the review."
"A few years ago, we had a super team of restaurant writers/reviewers at the Oregonian with Roger Porter, Christina Melander, Karen and me anchoring the coverage. We nailed most of the breaking news, wrote insightful (if not always flattering) reviews, and provided abundant original, thoughtful reporting about Portland's restaurant world. Now all of us are gone."
UPDATE 11/14: Welker's has provided a response to Zusman's claims:
"The Oregonian's reasons for no longer needing Michael Zusman's freelance services have nothing to do with a recent review that we chose not to publish.
Earlier this year, The Oregonian hired a full-time restaurant reporter and critic, Michael Russell. With him fully on board—in addition to staff contributions from Grant Butler and David Sarasohn, the senior restaurant critic in the Portland area—we no longer have much need for freelance reviews."