Friday, September 01, 2006

ABJ Arts Coverage update

From sources within the paper, I'm hearing that the plan is to have one reporter cover all the arts including some reviews. The reviews will be for shows with multiple dates, so no more one-off show reviews. And sadly, Kerry Clawson the theatre critic is supposedly not the pick for arts writer. She will be reassigned to something that isn't her passion. How terribly sad this all is for Akron.

Damn, I get so depressed seeing how quickly this town is sliding down into emptiness and despair. The "For Sale" signs are sprouting like fungus all over the landscape. I've also noticed that some major music acts have not been booked into NE Ohio, but rather Columbus. The money's down there now, so that's where the big acts play. Who cares about the R&R Hall of Fame if there's nobody with enough bucks to pay expensive ticket prices.

Trying to end on a positive note -- I did hear that the ABJ has gotten a lot of mail on this topic, and that some of it has been very negative in tone. I wrote but I was polite. Passionate -- but polite. As if anything I can say will affect their bottom line.


Viola said...

Viola recommends an article by Malcolm Gladwell in last week's New Yorker. It defines the 'dependency factor,' a tool for examining how corporations, cities and even nations have failed or benefited economically and socially. Viola says she sees Akron as one that's been affected by the dependency factor as well as other factors, such as the mass movement to the suburbs, and the need for new skills instead of the old. Viola has another way of looking at things. She thinks the crumbling of our NEO cities might be inevitable. Akron in its economic heyday was never the promised land. In fact, many of its denizens dreamed of escaping from it. Its factories' smoke blackened the neighborhoods and brought on early deaths of workers who toiled long hours at punishingly physical jobs, and whose lungs were affected from pollution inside factories and out. Akron until the mid sixties believed in segregation (defacto anyway), and its arts scene was almost non-existent. The performing arts venues were few. Audiences sat in the old armory and listened to world-class orchestras playing to a background of clanking plumbing pipes. Now Akron's one and only paper, the Akron Beacon Journal, is turning itself into a joke. No longer will it chronicle the lives, times and interests of its citizens. Readership will drop as readers develop computer skills and find whatever they need to know about this fading shadow of its original self. Eventually the BJ will be sold to another buyer looking for a cheap rag, and finally the Beacon will die, toes up, unmourned. Then where will historians go for records of the past? Viola says vision for what the future may hold is not found in many cities' leaders of any generation.

Mimi said...

I disagree with Viola, whoever the heck she is, about Akron and its newspapers. Cities are the heart of civilization. Think of Athens, Rome, Venice, Florence, Berlin, Paris, New York, and London-- and Philadelphia, SanFrancisco, Edinborough, Manchester, and so on. They are where arts, politics,and ideas spring from and develop--not in a barn on an outlying farm, or in suburbia.If local newspapers foster the arts, the public and the economy benefit. George Bernard Shaw began his career as a newspaper music and drame critic in London over 100 years ago. He helped build audiences, and his reviews are as entertaining and insightful today as they ever were.