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NY Magazine - firing Tobi Tobias


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#16 dirac

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Posted 01 August 2002 - 05:38 PM

While I'm not inclined to say anything favorable about New York right now, their website is free, and you can look up archived material -- some going back several years -- without charge. It's quite nice, as opposed to some other sites where you have to choke up three or four dollars for an article that turns out to be exactly what you didn't need.

I hope something can be done, but it doesn't look good, does it?

#17 dirac

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 09:23 AM

The Dance Insider piece is instructive. I note that the Ben-Itzak reminds dance people that "P.S: It's no secret that Tobi Tobias's dance criticism, which can be acid when she sees something she doesn't like, has rankled some dance artists. Please -- PLEASE -- don't let this deter you from supporting her and fighting to help her regain her podium." It's too bad that he felt impelled to do that -- that there are actually people out there who might say, "She slammed me, so good riddance," and not look at the larger issues.

#18 Manhattnik

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 10:30 AM

Here's my two-cents worth:

I have read with tremendous sadness and astonishment of New York Magazine's apparent decision to drop dance coverage. For years, in giving Tobi Tobias a voice, New York Magazine has not just chronicled the development of an art form which has, more than any other, built its greatest achievements here in New York City, but has also been a discerning and important arbiter of those achievements.

It has never been more important than now to celebrate, cherish and, yes, husband our city's great cultural bounty, as Tobias has done so well, for so long. Shall the works of George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Mark Morris (or the hundreds of less well-known dance artists whom Tobias and your magazine gave acknowledgment and legitimacy) exist no more for the readers of New York Magazine?

In relieving yourself of Tobias, and dance as a whole, you are doubtless saving yourself a few dollars, but it's not without a cost, both to your readers and to the cultural life of the city whose name you have so proudly (but with a waning legitimacy) claimed for your own. You've also relieved yourself of at least one reader.

I devoutly hope that New York Magazine will reconsider this unfortunate decision.

Sincerely,

#19 Ari

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 08:33 AM

Here's the item from the LA Times. It's short enough to reprint in its entirety.

New York Magazine Drops Dance Column

Tobi Tobias, dance writer at New York magazine for the past 22 years, got a call from editor in chief Caroline Miller Tuesday night advising her that her column was being phased out.

It's not that she's being replaced by "someone cuter," the columnist said Thursday. She's just the latest victim of economics, in which the arts--and dance, in particular--are increasingly seen as expendable.

"New York City is a mecca for dance--and there are so few slots where dance is being covered in a steady and serious way," Tobias said. "Companies and artists--not just the people who report on them--are trying to find and retain an audience. Dance is seen as the 'orphan' art since its appeal is narrower than the others. Still, it needs to have its place."

Tobias has received a couple of dozen phone calls and nearly 100 e-mails since word got out. But the decision, it seems, is final.

"While we value Tobi's contribution, I decided not to renew her contract," Miller said. "But we're not abandoning dance. At least for the time being, we'll cover it through listings, features and reviews written by other staff people. In these difficult times, every publication in America has to make painful decisions about how to use limited resources in a way that best serves the readers. And it's no surprise to anyone that the audience for dance has diminished."

#20 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 30 July 2002 - 06:25 PM

Here's my letter - I urge other people to write. One less voice, one less venue for coverage is a damaging thing.

Dear Ms. Miller:

I'm very sad to hear of your magazine's decision to discontinue dance coverage by Tobi Tobias.  Her reviews were the reason I read the magazine and visited the website; I have much less reason to do either without them.  Not only was her writing incisive but the coverage of an important part of New York's cultural life stated an important truth: New Yorkers don't just watch TV, they go to the theater, the opera and dance performances.  It's sad to think that you've decided that not enough people are interested to justify coverage.  Count me as one reader for whom that was the main reason I read New York Magazine with pleasure.

I hope you will reconsider this sad, and I think misguided, decision.



#21 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 01:41 PM

Patricia -

I have a feeling NYCB had nothing to do with it - good reviews or bad, it was press, and now, this is one more place in which NYCB will not get covered at all. Controversy or even bad press is far better for New York City Ballet than irrelevance.

#22 Calliope

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 07:35 AM

I wrote too and asked how they can call themselves "New York" magazine without covering one of the cornerstones of NY culture. Many consider NY to be the dance capital of the world, yet they'll now never read about it in your magazine.
It is a disservice to the population of readers who have been influenced to go to a performance after reading one of Tobi Tobias' reviews.


and I can't remember what else I wrote b/c it was early this morning.

#23 Calliope

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 08:45 AM

Time Out New York does print weekly on the dance scene too. And that magazine is geared at a younger audience than NY, New Yorker.

#24 Calliope

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Posted 01 August 2002 - 04:21 PM

I got the same exact letter.
I guess they cut costs back so much, they can't afford to address people individually.
"work that best serves the reader"

for me it's the crossword and the dance reviews.
Previews aren't enough "coverage" of dance. That's like printing the movie timetable.

I'm pretty much annoyed and will in these difficult times, I think I'll save the money on a subscription and donate it to a company. I'll check their website and if I decide there's an article worth reading, I'll buy it.

#25 Calliope

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 08:45 AM

That last sentence is a little startling.
I thought dance audiences were actually growing. With companies adding longer seasons and more and more festivals popping up.

#26 Patricia

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 08:56 AM

I e-mailed my letter to NEW YORK. I won't reprint it, but I questioned the validity of such a decision, being that NYC is a major center for ALL kinds of dance. Could it be the decision to cut the column was possibly due to pressure from NYCB? Martins remains popular with his monied, powerful patrons.

TIME OUT NEW YORK reviews everything from restaurants to television...but not dance.

#27 Patricia

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Posted 02 August 2002 - 04:33 AM

I received an 'answer' to my e-mailed letter:

Thanks for your letter. It's true that we are discontinuing Tobi's reviews,
but it isn't the case that we're abandoning dance, or our commitment to
serious culture in New York. In these difficult times, every publication in
America has had to make painful choices, focusing limited resources on work
that best serves its readers. While we have valued Tobi's contribution to
the magazine, we believe that, for the time being, the best way to provide
ongoing coverage of dance is in other parts of the magazine.

We will continue to cover dance in previews, listings and features,
including the kinds of stories you mention. In fact we have a feature on
Mark Morris coming up later in the fall. We'll do our best to keep readers
informed of what's going on in dance, and give the dance community the
attention it deserves.

#28 piccolo

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 09:51 AM

Ok, this is really depressing me. NEW YORK is decreasing its dance coverage? Oh what has this world come to? Our dance coverage here in San Diego is so pitiful and I have been holding out hope that it will improve but if New York doesn't see the need for dance coverage, who will? :cool:

#29 BW

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the news - albeit bad news. I've sent my email. Maybe if they see enough of an uprising, they'll realize they have a substantial chunk of readers that they'll lose. Here's hoping!

#30 Farrell Fan

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Posted 31 July 2002 - 11:05 AM

This was a truly shocking decision. The ONLY reason I ever looked at New York was to read Tobi Tobias's dance reviews. I wrote and told them so and asked them to reconsider.


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