It was a bittersweet thing for me to sit down last Friday to watch the public television interview I did with “In Focus” host Eden Lane via webstream. The 30-minute-long segment originally aired the previous Friday, the day I officially announced my resignation as arts editor at Colorado Public Radio.
My body language is mighty awkward as I try to answer Lane’s questions as honestly and politically correctly as I can. We recorded the segment a couple of weeks before I left CPR and at that stage I didn’t know whether I’d be moving on or not, so I had to behave as if it were “business as usual.”
But there’s undeniably a wistful quality to my smile and a slight strain in my voice as I tell Lane, as unemotionally and impartially as I can, about CPR’s singular “news focus” when it comes to covering the arts.
It’s been an interesting and at times exhilarating journey. I don’t regret coming here to launch and lead CPR’s new arts bureau for a second. I learned a great deal about Colorado’s bubbling arts scene, further developed my skills as a manager and journalist and made many friends.
But as we got into the collaboration, my vision for arts coverage turned out not to be the same as CPR’s.
The main point of divergence: I adamantly do not believe a groundbreaking media organization of the 21st century can cover the arts in a meaningful way if it insists that the job can be done by covering the arts in the same way that it covers the legislature. Or the environment. Or education, for that matter.
News is a piece of the pie. But it’s not the whole. There has to be room for opinion. There has to be room for experimentation. There has to be room for play.
So I’m moving on.
I’m thrilled to announce that KQED in San Francisco has hired me to serve as its senior arts editor. The organization’s vision seems to be more closely aligned with my own. So I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to the cultural scene of one my favorite parts of the world — a region which was my home for 13 years prior to my move to Colorado.
There is much I will miss about my life here, from 19th century opera houses tucked away in tiny mountain towns at 11,000 feet, to exhibitions that feel more like parties at the Denver MCA.
However, after nearly two years of not being able to blog — at CPR, the arts editor is forbidden from expressing her opinion about the art she covers explicitly; she may only report on it and in so doing reveal her biases implicitly — I am thrilled to begin again.
So watch this space!