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In Brief

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • With hat tip to The Cranky Professor, I will now be spending far too much time browsing through scans of medieval manuscript pages catalogued by UCLA's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. [Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts]

  • With hat tip to Maud Newton --What possible right would the government of Argentina have to repatriate the remains of Jorge Luis Borges from Switzerland to Buenos Aires? [MobyLives]

  • A hilariously bitchy take on the death of newspapers: "What you’re so pathetically grieving is your fading culture, a masturbatory profession of over-educated overpaid typists who had a stranglehold on American journalism for 30 years or so — the Golden Era of the fat monopoly newspaper with its total control of local opinion, the real estate and jobs markets, which politicians were on the way up or down, who had an Important Wedding, what ladies were the stars of Society and the Debutante Balls. You people were the dam that held back all the world’s information: stock prices, distant wars, consumer trends, comic strips, Fall Recipes, and those precious reprints of George Will columns. And you trickled out a little bit each day, the volume depending on the number of ad pages. It’s a good thing nothing important ever happened on Mondays, right?" [Wonkette]

  • It amuses me that, after years of Ionarts sometimes being regarded as not as legitimate as reviews published in a newspaper, so many newspaper critics have been kicked to the curb and/or forced to become, essentially, bloggers. We could count Alan Rich (formerly of Los Angeles Weekly and then also of Bloomberg News), Sarah Bryan Miller (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Lawrence A. Johnson (formerly of the Miami Herald), and even Tim Smith (still getting some reviews published in the Baltimore Sun, for now). An accounting of the situation, last summer, listed only 27 full-time classical music critics still actually getting published in American newsprint (now down to at least 26, after the ousting of Donald Rosenberg in Cleveland). Anthony Tommasini has taken a turn at blogging and now even answering questions send in online. [New York Times]

  • Music critics in Great Britain are having similar troubles. [Musical Criticism]

  • One of the critics who still has his job, Mark Stryker, draws our attention to the story of little-known conductor John McLaughlin Williams. [Detroit Free Press]


jfl said...

"It amuses me that [...] so many newspaper critics have been kicked to the curb and/or forced to become, essentially, bloggers."

Is amusing really the word you were looking for?

Charles T. Downey said...

Well, meant ironically, to be sure. Amusing not because people are losing their jobs and classical music is getting short shrift in newsprint -- not funny at all -- but amusing because people who sneered at something that was "only a Web site" will soon be reading only Web sites.

jfl said...

Ah. So more of a righteous, you've-got-your-comeuppance, glee. :-)

I'm surprised that no wealthy arts patron has yet gotten the idea to create a trust-fund that ensures a two-page classical music coverage section in a big newspaper instead of funding the Second Principle Bassoon Chair or Third Principle Violinist chair. How much could it possibly take? 1/2 Million per annum. Probably the wrong time, economically, to ask.

Charles T. Downey said...

See, when you put it that way, "amuses" does not seem so bad, does it? ;-)

What really mystifies me is that editors are decreasing newsprint space for things like classical music coverage and increasing it for things like features on Facebook trends and so on. Why try to appeal in the print edition to that elusive younger market, who generally do not read newspapers and are happy to get their news online? The demographic that is most likely still to want to read an actual paper are far more likely to want to read about classical music, aren't they?

The thought of endowing endowed reporter positions may have occurred already to some wealthy patron. How it would work as far as preserving the concept of editorial independence could be a problem. If newspapers really cannot find a way to exist as a for-profit venture, then it seems imperative that some kind of non-profit foundation take up the slack in providing an independent reporting voice, not only for investigative journalism but artistic and cultural news.

jfl said...

"How it would work as far as preserving the concept of editorial independence could be a problem."

If that were a problem, they should not be allowed adverts, either. In Europe, at least, papers make the bulk of their money with articles [!] about products that also happen to give them deals. (For example: article about a wine estate which also delivers for the newspaper's own wine-selection at steep discounts. By issuing their own book, CD, DVD, and wine selections, they cash in nicely.)

Aside, a trust could be written to include no strings as far as content/angle is concerned.

Meanwhile, I think that most newspapers are already de-fact non-profits. :-) No one is in print anymore, to make money. People like Murdoch (ironically?) are in it for the love of newsprint.

Charles T. Downey said...

If that were a problem, they should not be allowed adverts, either.

*smirks* You're right, of course. And there would be ways to make sure that a trust's money could be accepted without any editorial strings attached. The issue might still be a problem, though, at least in perception. The folks who figure it out will likely be taking the next big step in the history of journalism.

Henry Holland said...

I like the one commenter on the Wonkette thread that basically says "Yes, Google News, is nice, but they're merely links to AP and newspapers. What's going to replace that?". Hmmmm....

I love newspapers. I can't stand reading lengthy stories online: having to click through 8 pages, the obnoxious floating ads that require another click etc. Bah, give me a newspaper that has it all on one page any day.

jfl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.