Teachout disagrees with Schickel about the value of artbloggers, noting that some of the most thoughtful and informed writing about the arts appears in blogs (Note: the thougtful and informed bloggers he mentions are, in fact, journalists who happen to blog about their subject- e.g., Tyler Green, who blogs on the visual arts at Modern Art Notes, and Teachout himself.) Teachout does admit a distinction, though:
"One of the most important civic duties that a newspaper performs is to cover the activities of local arts groups -- but it can't do that effectively without also employing knowledgeable critics who are competent to evaluate the work of those groups. Mere reportage, while essential, is only the first step. It's not enough to announce that the Hooterville Art Museum finally bought itself a Picasso. You also need a staffer who can tell you whether it's worth hanging, just as you need someone who knows whether the Hooterville Repertory Company's production of "Private Lives" was funny for the right reasons.I couldn't have said it better myself, which is why I quoted Teachout instead. So, folks, as I've said before (click here for a recent post), if you're interested in getting involved in stemming the tide, join the National Book Critics Circle Campaign to Save Book Reviewing by clicking here.
"...blogging, valuable though it can be, is no substitute for the day-to-day attention of a newspaper whose editors seek out experts, hire them on a full-time basis, and give them enough space to cover their beats adequately. The problem is that fewer and fewer newspapers seem willing to do that in any consistent way. I don't care for the word "provincial," but I can't think of a more accurate way to describe a city whose local paper is unwilling to make that kind of commitment to the fine arts.
"...I got my start reviewing second-string classical concerts for the Kansas City Star 30 years ago. Now that such entry-level jobs are drying up, I fear for the future of arts journalism in America."