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Food

Everybody Calm Down: It's Totally Not For Sure that Jonathan Gold is Going to the L.A. Times [UPDATED: He IS, Says LA Weekly]

Jonathan_Gold_ET.jpg
The JGold himself at his Union Station Cocktail Party in 2010 (Elise Thompson/LAist)
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UPDATE: 12:35 PM The LA Weekly has just confirmed Gold is leaving to go to the L.A. Times. Further deals about his role in his new post, or who will replace him were not made available. "We wish we could have kept him. Hell, we tried to keep him. But time marches on. He's been here since 1982, for God's sake. We wish him the best of luck in his new adventures," writes the LAW.--------

I got a text message from a food-biz friend on Friday, asking me if I'd heard the rumor that the L.A. Weekly's Pulitzer Prize-winning (I think you HAVE to say that, by law) food critic Jonathan Gold was going to work for the L.A. Times. Their source was Kevin Roderick at the LA Observed, who ran a piece reporting that Gold had been spotted shaking hands in the LAT building. It wasn't a done deal then, and no deal has been confirmed now. So why has the internet gone apeshit spreading the news that Gold was headed to the LAT?

LAO ran a piece in the wee hours of today as a follow-up, reporting that the Weekly and their parent company, Village Voice Media, were apparently engaging in a bidding war to keep Gold on staff. After all, Gold brings them vital pageviews to their website and blog, Squid Ink, as well as gives people a reason to occasionally pick up their actual paper. Plus, Gold puts his name on events (like the upcoming Gold Standard) and people flock to them in droves.

Gold, of course, has been silent on the matter since Friday, as well anyone potentially making a career move that significant and in his position, should be. The LA Weekly and Squid Ink, as well as most of his colleagues there, haven't said a word in any official capacity, and neither has the L.A. Times.

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And, truly, everyone wants to know: On Gold's personal Facebook page, no response to a local blogger's post asking if the rumors were true, linking to Friday's Eater LA post on the rumor du jour (starring our photo of Gold, much to our surprise...but, hey!). Really? Did anyone think he'd answer, given his current situation?

Today, the NY equivalent of Squid Ink, the Village Voice food blog Fork in the Road, ran a piece filed under "Breaking News" declaring "Jonathan Gold Leaving L.A. Weekly for L.A. Times." They cite LAO, but totally get the LAO story wrong. They take it as a done deal. They wish Gold gold luck in his new role.

In response, the Twitterverse explodes, and even perpetuates a second error: Fork in the Road blogger Robert Sietsema Tweets "Jonathan Gold leaving L.A. Weekly for L.A. Times, according to L.A. Observer." Oopsies. Sietsema has flubbed again: It's not the L.A. Observer, it's L.A. Observed. Who noticed that? Well, former NY Times food critic Sam Sifton did: "Lotta RTs off @robertsietsema attributing @thejgold's move to LAT from LAW to "LA Observer." NB, it's LA Observed. (@laobserved) #acronyms." (That got an enthusiastic RT from me, I'll add.) To be fair, Sifton gets it wrong too, in that he takes FITR's word for it. Sigh.

Needless to say, Roderick at LAO is surprised at how FITR ran the wrong way with their story based on his, and how, in the aftermath, Angelenos are abuzz with the news Gold is going (back) to the LAT.

The thing is, we don't know for sure. Heck, Gold may not even know for sure, if indeed he is being courted by both publications in an offer, counter-offer, counter-counter-offer kind of situation. Also, we have no idea what he's going to do should he go to the L.A. Times. He might not even be going over as food critic, you know. He has been known to write about music. Or perhaps take on an editor role. It doesn't mean the LAT's S. Irene Virbila is leaving (though, since I'm on a soapbox, I wish she would--the paper needs a fresh voice). And, frankly, if she is being replaced, Gold may not even be the best person for the job. He's shed any pretense of anonymity a long time ago. And would LAT give him room to cover the smaller, less "important" hole-in-the-wall spots he gets to tout in his role at the Weekly?

At this point, nobody knows. Can we all just calm down?