Monday, July 28, 2008

The decline of the paid critic: crisis or opportunity?


As someone relatively new to blogging, I find the on-running discussion about critics getting laid off from newspapers and magazines of much interest. Chuck Tryon of The Chutry Experiment recently called attention to essays by Craig Lindsey and Jay Rayner discussing what Tryon calls “the ongoing crisis in film criticism.” Are the current trends a crisis or an opportunity? I found other links exploring the same issue, both in relation to film and the other arts:

Even though Roger Moore wrote this for Orlando Sentinel back in 2006, I find his conclusion about the death of the paid film critic bleakly interesting.

A writer for Variety, Anne Thompson weighed in on the matter back in April.

Writing for Film School Rejects, Kevin Carr replied to Thompson, and celebrates some of the benefits of blogging.

Art critic Charlotte Higgins explains why she’s making the switch from print to the greater elasticity of a blog.

Lastly, writing for Film in Focus, Phillip Lopate places recent problems in the context of the history of film criticism.

3 comments:

Chuck said...

I probably should have put "crisis" in scare quotes. I'm sympathetic to the many critics who are losing their jobs because many of them are friends. And the degree to which the changes are symptomatic of a newspaper industry in tatters is a concern.

But the tremendous outpouring of blog-based film criticism is pretty astounding.

FDr said...

For one, I prefer getting paid for writing criticism to not getting paid. In this respect, blogging can be exploitative (where writers are encouraged to exploit themselves), but the editorial freedom of blogging is a pleasure too. Also, I find the best bloggers encourage a higher level of discourse than one usually finds in a newspaper or a magazine. I find it difficult to conclude either way.

JUS said...

It seems to me that this is part of the trend away from local voice in media. From Clear Channel to mega-corp newspaper consolidation, the local voice of reporters, critics, disk-jockeys, are going away in favor of un-locatable vanilla personages and their equally inscrutable points of view.

Video killed the radio star, and the big media is killing local differentiation.