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May 15, 2006

Everyone is a critic.


One of the benefits of the internet may be its ability to finally move arts criticism into its properly weighted role in arts journalism. That the thousands of blogged opinions from the washed and the unwashed may now be obscuring the work of professional critics, clearly should focus the arts journalist on doing more of the probative, thematic and reportorial work that characterizes the best arts journalism today. Criticism has a fine and long tradition. It should continue -- in its place. But clinging endlessly to that traditional, limited model in the central position it has held, will continue arts journalism sliding toward obscurity. If word of mouth, fueled by the internet, is essentially going to replace the power of the all-knowing and highly trained critic to make or break a show, I'd look for a new way of communicating the essential quality and importance of the arts today. Arts journalism should be more than criticism, particularly in populist publications like newspapers and magazines. We should be doing more reporting. More innovative photography. More analyses of trends and finances. Perhaps even more probative work on the questionable decisions in schools across America to value and fund sports more liberally than music and theater. The breadth of work to be done is wider than the focus taken on by the combined forces of all the arts journalists in America. Too much of that focus remains on criticism alone.

Posted by at May 15, 2006 11:28 AM


Very clever, thank you.

Posted by: hdw at May 15, 2006 11:35 AM

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