By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Post on downsizing was misleading, says Globe arts editor

Boston Globe arts editor Rebecca Ostriker has sent the following response to my Tuesday post regarding cutbacks in the Globe‘s arts coverage. Ostriker makes some good points, and in retrospect I wish I had done more than simply link to other blogs.

Some misunderstandings regarding the Boston Globe’s arts coverage have been spreading online—including in your recent post—and I would welcome an opportunity to clarify our plans.

The Globe is dedicated to bringing our readers the best possible arts coverage, every single day, both in print and online. With an outstanding Sunday Arts section and a Friday Weekend section packed with arts and entertainment coverage, we will continue to showcase the superb work of our staff critics in every area of the arts, including Pulitzer Prize winners Sebastian Smee and Mark Feeney, Ty Burr, Jeremy Eichler, Don Aucoin, Matthew Gilbert, and Steve Smith. With the help of powerhouse arts reporter Malcolm Gay, we will continue to vigorously report on broader issues relating to the arts, often on the Globe’s front page. Few newspapers in the country can boast such a sparkling roster of staff writers exploring the arts, or more commitment to covering the arts in every form, from theater to art, music, movies, television, and dance.

Meanwhile, as we weigh our priorities when it comes to freelance coverage, we are shifting our focus to emphasize reported feature stories (the Jon Garelick piece you cited was an example; see others below, along with a couple of recent freelance reviews). There will certainly be exceptions to this, but our overall goal is simple: We’re looking to tell the most compelling stories that will appeal to readers in every area of the arts. We are encouraging artists, performers, and arts organizations of all kinds to share their best ideas for feature stories with us. And we will be counting on all of our terrific freelance writers to help us tell those stories.

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1 Comment

  1. Lots of spin here that Dan is confusing with “good points.” The point — made by all the blogs — is that freelance critics at the Globe are being cut and arts criticism is being downplayed at the expense of puffy feature stories. These features are mostly informative publicity pieces for the artists. Read the links provided carefully. Nary a negative word to provide any kickback to readers, creators, and advertisers. Feature stories not the same as substantial criticism — which is judgment substantiated by analysis. That kind of stimulation used to be an important part of the arts pages at major newspapers and magazines (in the 19th century the Globe printed reviews of the Boston Symphony on its front page!). That kind of judgment is still a vital part of the Globe’s political and sports coverage. But engaged serious debate about the value of the arts has been considerably weakened in The Boston Globe.

    And, just asking, but where are the female voices in this line-up of writers of “terrific stories” to come? Not a single woman writer in the mix.

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