At the urging of her editors at the Houston Chronicle to be "more visible," the paper's anonymous restaurant critic Alison Cook gave a talk at an event about her experiences on the job and effectively outed herself. For an anonymous critic to appear at public event is pretty much a guarantee that their photo would appear online, and in this case the photo landed on Eater Houston.
Before publishing the photo, Eater Houston reached out to Cook, who said, "It's not a comfortable situation for a critic who has tried to keep a low profile for many years, and whose photo is not online. But times have changed for journalists, and for newspapers, and I'm willing to adapt to new circumstances as long as I can keep my ethical standards intact. I think I can."
Back in June, Cook wrote in an online chat: "You'd be surprised how many mid-range and modest restaurants I can visit unrecognized. In the upscale places, people tend to recognize me because there is a cadre of staff that moves around from place to place....but you can't find my picture on Google." Those days are now over.
After being outed, Cook tweeted: "So Eater Houston is going to run a photo of me. I knew this day would come. Doesn't mean I have to like it." Also: "I knew it would happen once I agreed to do those events. So heads up was just confirmation. Sick to my stomach either way."