The kids are alright, an addendum
Excellent, excellent post, Jennifer. It really resonates with me. I started to respond in the comments section but realized my comment was getting too long. So I decided to make a post out of it. Perhaps you have started a string of posts, so relevant to our times is the subject.
I have felt for some time that there is an "ageist" mentally at work in arts philanthropy circles. This mentality is also at work in many of the newsrooms we work in or work with.
Case in point is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's recent decision to separate its web product from its print product, the former being a place for breaking news and pop culture-oriented items aimed at a younger generation of readers and the latter being for longer, investigative and narrative pieces aimed at an older, more educated generation.
What's implicit in this calculus is that young people aren't interested in in-depth, investigative and narrative pieces. Why? Because the conventional wisdom says that kids these days are not interested in that kind of stuff. They want pop and glitz and whiz-bang news.
Which is true, no doubt. But I grew up in the Me-Decade, when video killed the radio star. In the 1980s. I watched loads of TV, consumed every middle-market movie you can think of and never read a newspaper until I was in college. Then I discovered a world that was far more complex and varied and colorful and interesting than the surface-level media I had grown up with. There was suddenly a world of ideas in publications like the New York Times, Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Review of Books. Even the Buffalo News, the dominant newspaper of my childhood, had a robust critical voice (back then, anyway) that was compelling.
Most of all, there was good writing, stuff you really wanted to read.
I am a fan of YouTube, MySpace, multimedia and so on. But that cannot and will never replace the power of language and the power of ideas and good storytelling. I think its a good thing the AJC is recognizing different audiences with different needs, but I think it also should track its readers as it implements these changes. The notion that only older readers will be interested in its print product is a misconception. A print product that's well-written (and timely, interesting, exhaustively reported etc.) will always be relevant.
There's the rub, however: well-written. As we all know, there are bright spots of good writing in newspapers, some in unexpected places. But there's also a dearth of good writing (to be sure, I include myself in this white-wash statement), and there will only be more of it as reporters and editors are asked to do more and more with fewer resources and less time.
Newspapers need to recognize the value of good writing and good writers as they transform themselves for the future. Magazines like the New Yorker, GQ and Vanity Fair haven't lasted this long because they had great pictures (though that's a large part of it). They have survived because of their commitment to, and willingness to pay for, good writers.
Bloggers We Love
Bridgette Redman and Lansing Theater
Drew McManus' "Neo Classical" at the Partial Observer
Marc Moss (Missoula, MT artist)
Mary Louise Schumacher's "Art City"
Other Great Sites
American Composers Orchestra
Arts & Letters Daily
Center for Arts and Culture
Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive
National Arts Journalism Program
NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater & Musical Theater
New Music Box: American Music Center
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog