Long, sad report on the disappearing music journalism

[Note: This item comes from friend Janos Gereben. DLH]

From: janosG <janosg@gmail.com>
Subject: Long, sad report on the disappearing music journalism
Date: January 9, 2017 at 2:00:20 AM EST

Curtains fall on arts critics at newspapers
By Jed Gottlieb / Columbia Journalism Review
JANUARY 6, 2017
http://www.cjr.org/the_feature/arts_music_critics.php

… Critics at newspapers are dying off even faster than print journalism. theater critics, film reviewers, A&E editors, and arts writers of every kind have been stripped from dailies and weeklies around the country. “Nobody can quantify the number of arts jobs lost because if you’re left at a paper you are probably doing more than one job,” American theater Critics Association chair Bill Hirschman says. “You are covering theater, writing breaking news stories, doing advance features and acting as the arts editor all at once.”

Jazz Journalists Association president Howard Mandel sees the same problem in trying to track the slashing of arts positions. “In some cases the jazz critic is also a copy editor or has some other main job at the paper and covers jazz as a sideline,” Mandel says.

By his best approximation, fewer than 10 of the Jazz Journalists Association’s 200 members have full-time jobs at newspapers (down from an already measly two dozen in the mid-’90s). The drop off in theater critics has been dramatically sharper. Hirschman said twentysome years ago there were easily a hundred staff theater critics at papers. Now he “can count on his fingers” the number of full-timers out of the American theater Critics Association’s 220 members. Even film critics, the marquee A&E position at any paper, have seen their ranks decimated. In 2000, the National Society of Film Critics had 30 of its 50 members working full-time at dailies and alternative weeklies. For 2016, the numbers have shifted to 10 in 54.

It is sad but expected when the Orange County Register gets rid of its pop critic and music editor, as it did in 2014, but keeps five people on the OpEd staff. Or when the Denver Post buys out its theater critic, like it did in 2011, but retains 19 positions in the sports section. But when the papers in New York City—the global center of the arts—abandon coverage, the trend becomes more troublesome.

The Village Voice, champion of underground culture, spent the last decade showing the men and women who built their brand the door, including “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau. In 2015, the Daily News dropped its TV and music critics. Even The New York Times, the paragon of arts in print, quietly-but-dramatically scaled back in August when it ended regional coverage of galleries and theaters. Many in the theater scene suspect the Times is about to dramatically reduce its off-Broadway coverage next. <snip>

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