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Covering Classical

In the wake of our weekend reviews, some answers to earlier questions from commenters about classical music coverage in the Post.

When I announced I was starting a blog, a lot of people assumed that this was going to mean less coverage of classical music in the Post itself. It’s certainly true that space is more limited in the paper than it was last year, but that’s not why I wanted to start blogging. The blog model has been shown to be a fruitful one for classical music in particular, and I have been eager to explore it myself and see how it can function in the context of newspaper journalism.*

However, it’s also true that space in the print edition of the paper is more limited than it was. I am not writing any less in the paper, but anybody who follows classical music in the Post knows we are assigning fewer reviews to other critics than we were six months ago. We’re also assigning more reviews to run only on the Web; those are now running on the blog (a little confusingly, since they are not all by me). The Web-only reviews are a mixed blessing, but it’s certainly better than not having the events in question covered at all.

I'm generally the one who makes most of the decisions about what does and doesn't get covered, trying to strike a balance between local groups and internationally known artists, and accounting for human frailty. (To the commenter who asked about the Olga Kern concert: no malicious neglect there; I just got sick.)


In other meta-news on the journalism front, Cleveland Magazine ran a very long piece recapitulating the whole story of the Plain Dealer music critic Don Rosenberg, who was reassigned after accusations that he was too tough on the Cleveland Orchestra’s music director, Franz Welser-Moest. (I actually used to wonder if he was too tough myself, until I heard a couple of Welser-Moest performances, went back afterwards and read Rosenberg’s reviews, and found that he was extremely fair. I would have been a lot tougher.) Rosenberg has since sued the paper and the orchestra, as we reported in the Post; though in these tough times for journalism, it’s not easy to muster attention for the case of one ousted music critic. Indeed, I was a little distressed to read the comments last fall on an open letter about the declining ranks of music critics on; many of the readers there, probably journalists or people interested in journalism, seemed to think the whole idea of music criticism was obsolete. But that's a post for another day.


*(One critic, the publicist and blogger Amanda Ameer, opines that a blogger in a newspaper is by definition restricted or constrained, but I think this has been disproved by a lot of popular newspaper blogs. What she actually seems to be saying is that nobody trusts newspapers, which is not a view I’m willing to endorse.)

By Anne Midgette  |  April 7, 2009; 6:09 AM ET
Categories:  random musings  
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This should get conversation going:

Posted by: anony2 | April 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ha, I knew that would be controversial when I wrote it, but I'm flattered to get quite so much ink.

I felt that I always have the same criticism about Alsop's conducting, and that if I was going to say once again again that her excessive control tends to stifle the music, it was not wrong to address why I think that might be. But I realize that not everyone is going to find such an exegesis to be appropriate.

Posted by: MidgetteA | April 7, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

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