Janet Rausa Fuller, who as Food Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times brought in new voices from the online world, is leaving the paper as of December 12th. After 13 years at the paper, including four as food editor, she says she wants to explore new opportunities as a writer and spend more time with her children, the oldest of whom just entered first grade. She says there was no event at the paper that made her decide to resign on Monday, and she looks forward to the continued evolution of the food section, but that it will take some down time after her tenure at the paper to really decide what she’ll do next.
Fuller joined the paper in 1998 and created the food news beat in 2004 before being promoted to editor of the food section in 2007. Amid shrinking budgets and staff at the financially beleaguered paper, she used freelancers such as David Hammond and Jennifer Olvera, many of them from the online food writing world, to revitalize the section and bring it into the modern foodie-centric era. One of these writers— Michael Nagrant— would go on to become the Sun-Times’ food reviewer when the paper ended its 27-year relationship with reviewer Pat Bruno, who was popular with many readers but seen by foodies as someone who had held one of the few name-brand reviewer spots in town for too long.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story stated that Fuller was involved in the decision to terminate the paper’s relationship with Pat Bruno and to name Nagrant as his replacement. She informs us that because of the organization of the newspaper, in which restaurant reviewing is part of the Weekend section and separate from the Food section, she was not involved in either Bruno’s leaving or Nagrant’s arriving at the post of reviewer.