Once every few years, our copy editors allow me to use this byline. In tomorrow’s Chicago Tribune: pic.twitter.com/axr5f0ye7G
— Kevin Pang (@pang) February 12, 2014
Several years back, Kevin Pang, a food writer with the Dining section of the Chicago Tribune, went on a burger-eating binge. It was around 2009, “right when the gourmet burger craze was sweeping the country,” notes Pang in an e-mail to the Erik Wemple Blog. Pang and his colleagues created something called “The Cheeseburger Show” to track burger-related developments for their audience; he ate “100+” burgers, and the series won a 2010 multimedia James Beard Foundation Award. For the print reviews, says Pang, he attached “Cheeseburger Bureau Chief.” “My editor back then reacted with a laugh, and so we put it in there without a fight. We thought it’d be funny to add gravitas to something as non-important as burgers. I think it’s silly enough for our readers to get the joke, and they agreed,” recalls Pang, who was profiled in CJR in 2009.
As the tweet at the top of this post attests, however, a newspaper job title as juicy as this one doesn’t just disappear. Though he’s pretty well burgered out by now, Pang says he revives “Cheeseburger Bureau Chief” once every two years. “There’s no resistance from above, since our weekly Dining section has the latitude to experiment creatively,” notes Pang.