Newspapers coverage of arts vs. entertainment
Posted 03 April 2002 - 06:25 AM
Maybe if the NYTimes subscribers here wrote in, they might (though probably not) re-think this decision. It's sad.
Posted 02 April 2002 - 09:11 AM
Posted 03 April 2002 - 08:28 AM
This change in direction is also troubling because, as the article points out, the Times does set a standard. There are other papers who have been edging in this direction for years but haven't dared dump the high arts because they don't want to look like yahoos. If the Times goes Britney, it's giving the rest of the industry permission to be yahoos.
Posted 03 April 2002 - 09:02 AM
I think one of the roles of critics (in any field) is to see these warning signs and sound an alert. Because they have a broad overview of the field, they often see them before the rest of us. The problem with writing one pop piece is that, in today's era of The Marketeer, they'll do the numbers very rapidly. Putting Madonna on the cover of Time sells more copies than putting Arafat or Sharon on the cover. Writing a commentary for fun on a pop culture subject and soon you'll be directed to write more of them. And so it goes.
When Entertainment Tonight first went on the air, I read many editorials about what this would mean to television news. I thought they had overreacted. I was wrong
Posted 03 April 2002 - 01:49 PM
Posted 05 April 2002 - 10:37 PM
Sorry for the administrative intrusion, everyone -- back to this interesting topic
Posted 06 April 2002 - 01:17 PM
Posted 03 April 2002 - 04:19 PM
The Times is confronting a declining and aging readership, as are all newspapers, and it may be trying to reach beyond the older upscale types who are reading those articles about the Peking Opera and porcelain. That's not a dishonorable objective, if that is in fact the case. Obviously I've no desire to read more about Britney Spears, but I don't want to say that pop culture is beyond the pale or not worthy of equal time. Gumbel complains about Dowd and Rich; does anyone but me recall the days when the Times' editorial page was the place where senile executive editors went to babble away their dotage? (The far from senile Joseph Lelyveld is currently gracing the pages of The New York Review of Books, I'm pleased to note.) Does he want to bring back the golden days of Flora Lewis, the aging Reston, and the ineffable A.M. Rosenthal? Pleeze.
Rockwell notes that he was once a rock critic. If I recall correctly from the Fong-Torres/Bangs/Marsh/Marcus era, the other rock critics regarded him as pretty much of a joke.
Calliope, if the Times adds one more new section, I've had it. I just received a letter with my Sunday Times, explaining that they are adding even more feature-type sections on this day and that day. I think this just means more full color photographs of focaccia, arugula salad, and interior decor -- that is, advertiser friendly features. Well, even the Times has to live, I guess.
Posted 04 April 2002 - 02:09 PM
Posted 04 April 2002 - 05:43 PM
Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:09 AM
Posted 04 April 2002 - 12:34 PM
What's interesting to me is that the percentage of the WSJ readership that buys the paper BECAUSE of its arts coverage is undoubtedly miniscule -- I can't imagine that the commitment to regular, high quality arts reporting arises from the belief that it will materially increase circulation. Nor can I imagine that cutting such coverage would make even a tiny dent in circulation. (I'd still buy it, for instance, since I read it for professional reasons.) In short, I don't know why the WSJ has arts reporting at all, much less good arts reporting, but I'm glad it does!
Posted 04 April 2002 - 02:43 PM
I guess I find the arts coverage puzzling since the WSJ's focus is primarily on economic affairs and the business community; its coverage of non-business events and issues is generally from the perspective of the impact they may have on the business community (or consumers' pocketbooks) and one's professional life (e.g., the personal techonology articles or work/life balance columns) -- and the arts / leisure coverage doesn't quite fit into that paradigm. I'd be interested to know what percentage of its readership wan't primarily interested in its business coverage as professionals, but rather, read it for personal investment guidance or some other reason. But now I'm getting off topic! Bottom line: it has to be a positive that a newspaper primarily focussed on business and the business community covers the arts.
Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:27 AM
In covering the arts and lifestyle issues, the WSJ is seeking to make itself the "primary read" of its customers. In other words, by providing this sort of coverage, they are hoping to increase reliance on their paper and reduce the time their readers spend with other sources -- like, say, The New York Times, or the dominant daily in any other city. The Journal would dearly love to make those other papers "secondary reads" -- i.e. newspapers that get much less attention and therefore command less lucrative ad rates. For most of its history, the Journal itself was the "secondary read," of interest only to investors and executives.
Finally, you flunked the "frequently misspelled words" test. It's "minuscule."
I agree that the WSJ is clearly trying to position itself as more than your dad's source for stock quotes. (Which it must do since no one really relies on newspapers for market quotes or even up-to-the-minute business news anymore. That's what Bloomberg and the internet are for.) I'm a news junkie, so it's difficult for me to imagine the WSJ becoming my "primary read" since it doesn't really cover non-business news. I'm probably somewhat unusual in that I'd continue to buy both the NYT and the WSJ even if they reverted to their old black and white formats of a decade ago -- and dropped arts coverage altogether. Although ... I've noticed that I've begun to do most of my newpaper reading online. My "primary read' is probably the top dozen or so bookmarks in my "favorites" section that I cycle through while I eat breakfast in my office. I *used* to eat breakfast at home to read the paper version of the NYT. (It's amazing what access to a T-1 cable will induce one to do ...).
But I'm drifting off topic again! In any event, I'm definitely on the "let's not panic" end of the spectrum. In many ways, the arts continue to flourish and I think the internet is fostering a new kind of vibrant arts community -- just look at this board. I probably would never have met any of you personally "offline," but I have an opportunity now to paricipate in an ongoing conversation about a cherished art! I don't even bother with the NYT's dance reviews anymore, since I know I have access to much better coverage here! I attend 2+ performances of various types per week, and all are usually playing to capacity or near capacity crowds. It doesn't look like the arts are dying to me.
And yes indeed, I did misspell "minuscule." (And I'd be shocked if that were the only word I'd misspelled. This is what happens when one gets used to automatic spell-checking!)
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