Changing of The Guard
The Austin Chronicle's longstanding food editor steps down from acclaimed position
On Thursday, one of Austin's most respected culinary journalists, Virginia Wood, announced that she is transitioning out of her role as The Austin Chronicle's food editor after 17 years in the acclaimed position. Wood, who has been with the publication 21 years in total, will move into a staff writing position, while working on additional writing projects.
"Virginia has done an outstanding job," Louis Black, editor and co-founder of The Austin Chronicle, told CultureMap. "In order to give her more time to concentrate on her writing and writing projects we are transferring the editorship … This move mostly represents an expansion of the depth of talent The Austin Chronicle has covering food."
Wood, too, confirmed the move was a part of the paper's continuing evolution in covering Austin's burgeoning landscape. "Our local food scene has evolved to the point that covering it in print and online is no longer a one-person job," Wood told CultureMap. "The opportunity for me to move into a staff writer position is a win-win situation for everyone involved."
Brandon Watson, a Chronicle news editor who focused on politics and LBGT issues, has been tapped to replace Wood. "It's an extraordinary time to be involved in Austin's food culture. It's not only a burgeoning restaurant scene, but a growing artisan food community [and] a growing cocktail culture. In many ways, the story of Austin food is the story of Austin. How we break bread has a lot to say about how we define ourselves now and where we are going," Watson said.
"I will undoubtedly put my own stamp on the Chronicle's food coverage, but I am indebted to [the] foundation I inherited. Virginia was a visionary. She started the first food news column in Austin and led the charge of taking culinary Austin seriously."
As Black emphasized, readers won't have to say farewell to Wood just yet, as she will remain actively involved in the food section.
"I will continue to write the Food-o-File food news column, review restaurants from time to time and create feature stories for both our print and daily online editions," Wood explained. "I've got two book projects I'd like to work on and look forward to having the time to do that."