Leslie Brenner Finds Herself on Romenesko

Leslie Brenner finds her work the subject of a post on Romenesko today. A bit embarrassing. I’d like to echo what Nancy (and some commenters) said over on SideDish: the real sin here isn’t that the lead dining critic from the Dallas Morning News leaned heavily (to put it as kindly as possible) on the work Daniel Vaughn published in our pages. Where Brenner really screwed up was when she responded so condescendingly to Daniel because, you know, he’s just a lowly blogger. In this day and age, that attitude is pretty silly. Daniel Vaughn probably knows more about barbecue — especially local barbecue — than anyone else in Dallas. When Daniel wrote her about his concerns, Brenner should have immediately thanked him for his work and done so publicly on the paper’s food blog. Whether she should have done so initially in print is a matter up for debate, but the way she handled this matter is inexcusable.

Daniel has pointed out on his blog that the one good thing to come of this is that some out-of-the-way barbecue joints in North Texas are getting some deserved attention. I’d add another good thing: Daniel’s work is getting some attention, too. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.


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  • BoHan

    “Leslie pulled my hair.” “No, she didn’t, but Nancy stole my crayon.” “Daniel’s a tattletale.” “Wah wah wah.” God, the D Offices must be so much fun. If any of this is good publicity for Dallas food blogging (and yes, all of you are seen as one amorphous blot from anywhere other than Dallas), or any type of decent publicity to get Mr. Vaughn some MSM work, just call me confused.

    • @BoHan: Probably more fun than wherever you work, unless you work at the Monk, in which case, we’re more or less coworkers.

  • Hein

    Is the http://www.poynter.org/ site down or is it just my machine?

  • Hein

    Looks like the site’s back up after a brief “Bad Gateway” spell. Must have been all that traffic from FrontBurner.

    Anyway, not sure that being featured by Romenesko in a short post that’s presented without comment from Romenesko could be classified as aven “a bit” embarrassing.

    In fact, the only opinion given is the quote from Hanna Raskin, who says that Brenner is in the clear, even if she could’ve handled the situation better.

    Really, the only thing coming out of this is greater publicity, as BoHan mentioned, and an interesting discussion about journalism.

  • ChrisSchein

    The only thing D and the DMN have to offer for sale is information and the information in this case is the best BBQ in town. @BoHan and @Hein appear to view the product as something that should be easily stolen with no consequences. Journalism is just odd enough that the ethics generally allow the stealing as long as original credit is given. Either do the legwork or give the credit, but you can’t be condescending if you didn’t do either.

  • Hein

    @ChrisSchein: I don’t agree with the condescending tone, either. Blogs are great. Even this one!

    But I agree with Hanna Raskin, who said “I’m not yet ready to categorize restaurant finds as intellectual property.”

    Should Brenner have given some credit or used other means to create her list? Yes. But did she “steal”? Not at all.

    If a movie critic hears about a great independent film from a blog, goes to see it, and then writes a review, should the critic recognize the blog in any way?

    • @Hein: Only one thing I would add: the movie critic in your analogy only would be in the wrong if the critic acted like he/she was the one to discover the great independent film.

  • pancakes….mmmmmm

    @ Tim

    You + License plates = endangerment and threatened legal action

    Now please throttle back on the faux moral outrage. It’s good for traffic, but bad for your credibility.

  • Jones

    The BBQ afficionados in this state are well aware of the extensive and exemplary work that Mr. Vaughn has done. The passion they have for the product (specifically ribs/brisket/sausage) would make the Tea Party look as potent as the Shriners (no offense intended–I love those crazy little cars in the parades).

    If nothing else, this quibble has cemented the opinion that if you truly want to know where to go for the best ‘cue in Texas, Full Custom Gospel BBQ is the site to bookmark. Keep up the good work, Daniel.

  • @Pancakes: I applaud your unending efforts over the years to remind everyone here that I used to look up the names of people who littered cigarette butts from their car windows. I’m not sure why you do it, but it’s nice to have one’s work remembered.

    Now then. As a point of fact, I didn’t shoot for moral outrage in this post. If you detected any, then my aim is off. I’ll get my sights adjusted. Promise.

    Also, I never had credibility, so there’s nothing to damage. Your concern is touching, though. Thank you.

  • Paul

    At least Tim’s not still claiming moral outrage over people in real cars parking in spots “reserved” for puny electric cars.

  • allison

    Tim, my grandma always tells me it’s better to be hated than forgotten.

  • Mark