Saturday, June 28, 2008

Henry Fogel rails against the sacking of newspaper music critics

Henry Fogel, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, vents his frustration with the current situation in the newspaper trade. In Fogel's blog, On the Record, he asks that newspapers reassert themselves as leaders in the arts. Just this past week, the Miami Herald laid off its classical music critic, Lawrence Johnson.

In the words of Fogel:

"It continues to amaze me that those who are in positions to shape the national agenda do not, in fact, give a damn about shaping anything. Instead of feeling a shred of responsibility to lead the country, to move national discussion beyond the realm of reality shows, sitcoms, and sound-bites, they exercise a stunning degree of follow-ship-putting their collective fingers in the air, sensing the current trends, and running to follow them. That the arts and culture do, in fact, represent among the most significant achievements of any society or civilization--and that for that reason alone they merit discussion in our national media--is irrelevant to those who shape those media. It is a sad commentary, and perhaps more than anything else it is indicative of why newspapers are being eaten up by the internet."

I wholeheartedly agree with Fogel's assessment, and I just don't understand why newspapers are running away from a golden opportunity to use the web as a place where they could build arts journalism hotspots. Instead, they are letting bloggers get the inside track. It's just amazing.

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