The Last Curse in Pandora's Box

I had hoped that Romenesko -- the clearing house for news about what is happening in American journalism -- might link to my column from last week about how the Austin-American Statesman was going against the current by having regular coverage of books from university presses. I know that at least a couple of people submitted it as a tip.

But Romenesko almost always ignores anything having to do with cultural journalism. Steve Wasserman's recent piece in CJR was completely right. You should never underestimate the anti-intellectualism fostered by newsroom culture.

Thanks to Galley Cat and Conversational Reading for the links, however.

Letting the literary blogosphere know about this development is fine, but to have any chance of persuading people at other papers to emulate the Statesman's example, it really needed to be linked at Romenesko.

I keep thinking I've given up all hope on this score, only to find that there is still a little bit of it left that must be purged from my system.

November 28, 2007 11:10 AM | | Comments (2)

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This article is very meaningful to me. At 73, its been a very discouraging trend to watch the steady ant-inellectualism, thus disdain for the arts and CULTURE in general. The Houston Chronicle just terminated the visual art critic. This was a mixed blessing as she was too obviously coterie biased, lazy and very vendictive,sort of a Roberta Smith of the SW. Her predecessors worked hard, reviewed much, were as objective as one could expect about subjective manners and obviously they are gone. The real point is that the coverage and quality had steadily diminished when Patricia Johnson took over, 26 years ago and hs now diminished to zero.The current Cheney(w)
JUNTA represents this same dimissal of culture and journalists continue to let it happen. May MSM perish ASAP. My the Web take over if Coms**t, AT&T,an Verizon don't destroy it first, with the K-Street Congress assisting all the way.

Thanks for letting me rant about this lose. PLEASE keep pressing this issue. And I went to the jounalist links you included and spewed there as well.
Love this site, HJB

From my review of Gail Pool's book on newspaper book reviewing, Faint Praise:

"[The fact that some journalism schools are now offering classes in reviewing is] "also encouraging because of the baseline anti-intellectualism of American newspapers. Journalists haven't devoted book-length studies to reviewing because, like so much in the press, it's viewed more as a craft, as something aimed at Any Straphanger with a 5th Grade Education, than something needing or deserving intellectual consideration. It's still the case at many newspapers that pop music critics and video game critics, for example, are chosen among the youngest, most inexperienced staff members because, presumably, they're more "in touch with the young 'uns." And besides, that's all the subjects are worth. It'll keep the kids away from the important, influential, thoughtful, Pulitzer-winning stuff. Like writing editorial columns getting the Iraq War wrong.

Actually, I often find our newspapers' Front Page anti-intellectualism profoundly healthy, especially in its disrespect for authority. But as Ms. Pool indicates, in such an environment, it's hard, even paradoxical, to pursue any sort of intellectual endeavor (that is, anything requiring more than gut instinct or a five-star rating system). A real review, after all -- not a blurb, not an Entertainment Weekly paragraph with a B plus -- is a demonstration of, an argument for, the reviewer's authority."

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This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on November 28, 2007 11:10 AM.

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