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Author Topic: Movie Critics Disappearing from News Rooms
Catchfire
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posted 09 May 2008 01:29 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Across the country, big-city TV and movie critics have been seen as signature players — the kind of visible brands that attract readers to newspapers. But they're disappearing in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Tampa and even New York.

One reason: There is so much criticism available online that readers don't need to rely on the Hometown Gazette. David Folkenflik reports that the nature of TV and movie criticism may be changing as a result.


Audio clip on NPR


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 09 May 2008 01:32 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
John Harkness disappeared from planet recently. A very sad day indeed for us Torontonians. He was a great film critic who was really not afraid to review anything, and had enough stature that he did not have to pander to the advertizers. He could be brutal.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 09 May 2008 05:04 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
FYI - Labour beats were annihilated in Canadian newspapers two decades ago, and now labour news is subsumed under business news. But there was no internet two decades ago. I wonder what the excuse was, then?

In 1937, Time Magazine noted the increasing coverage of labour issues by labour specialists. I suppose if there was a fightback now, like in 1937, there would be more labour coverage.

Labor Newshawks - Time Magazine June 1937

On the same topic ....

quote:
UFCW "Directions" :

Canada’s last labour reporter

The recent death of Wilf List marks not just the end of an important career in Canadian journalism, but perhaps the end of a vital role in mainstream journalism in Canada – the labour reporter. He was 88.

Wilf List was often referred to as the “dean of labour journalists” after receiving a Canadian union award after his retirement in 1984. He is remembered for his impartiality in
reporting labour news from the late 1940s at The Globe and Mail, yet was also involved indirectly in settlements of labour issues as a voice of reason. He continued writing about
labour and civil liberties issues until very recently, and was involved in coaching his successor at the Globe.

While List argued that newspapers “are one of the most effective media for both union and management to get their case to the workers and the people who may influence the employees”, he was a dying breed. A beat reporter from an era in which a journalist often followed the same beat for life, he was succeeded by new management thinking that replaced “labour” reporters with “workplace” reporters, establishing a new norm that focused more on management practices than worker needs.


The G&M itself has, from December 2007 ...

quote:
In an era when reporters joined newspapers and often stayed on a beat for life, Wilf List of The Globe and Mail set the standard for labour reporters.Through his coverage of turbulent strikes in the 1950s and 1960s, of internal problems in the labour movement and of the political influence of labour at a time when it was much more powerful force in society than today, he also became an important figure himself.

The rest is behind a subscription wall. The G&M seems to be of the view that the labour movement is less important today and therefore merits less coverage.

Of course, since the mass media also shapes public opinion, one could also say that the labour movement gets less coverage because papers like the G&M would like it to be weaker and, by covering labour issues more poorly, helps to see that come about. They're accelerating the process of decreasing labour influence in society.

In a word, when workers are down, kick them some more. After all, it's good for business.

[ 09 May 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 09 May 2008 07:51 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Newspapers are dying.

The web, though, needs to start doing some things that they don't do.

1) Providing trusted information as a mainstream and broadly-focussed vehicle, rather than being geek-focussed, truther-focussed, teenage boy-focussed dreck machines.
2) Getting their own information, rather than sucking it from newspapers.
3) Less pop-ups please.
4) More graphs and wide-focus information presentations tailored for the web.
5) Less "stories" and more management information. If it's good enough for CEOs, it should be good enought for the people.

Add your own here...


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 09 May 2008 08:02 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From your first three items, Michael, I can only deduce that you are using the Internet in 1997. Welcome to the future.

I don't know what to make of your last two. More graphs? More "management information"? That's what the Internet is missing? Cripes.

As with most stories that focus on the death of the newspaper, there is a touch of elitism. I don't agree with most "professional" newspaper film critics anyway, they like films that appeal to a broad audience. While the story would have us believe that "character-driven" films are dying out because promoters can't find critics to quote, what they really mean is that character-driven Hollywood movies are dying. But they've been dead since 1979.

There is a lot of great film criticism out there, and if you find one consonant with your own tastes, you're golden. I'm sure, Michael, there must be a film blog out there that loves movies about management and illustrates character dynamics with pie charts. I wish you luck in your quest.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 09 May 2008 06:35 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't know what to make of your last two. More graphs? More "management information"? That's what the Internet is missing? Cripes.

YES.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Dogbert
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posted 09 May 2008 07:57 PM      Profile for Dogbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What exactly do you mean by "management information"?
From: Elbonia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 10 May 2008 05:00 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To me, a large part of how government impacts our lives is in the services they deliver.

In the private sphere, the market decides (to a degree) what succeeds and what fails. If you hate the shitty service at Rogers, you can go and get the shitty service at Bell. ( Rogers has been better lately. )

Government services are poorly managed, and expensive to deliver because the user doesn't pay - the system is administered by a large apparatus that eventually is tied to the voter.

So we, the users of the system, are actually sort of shareholders. As such, we should have information that will help us decide on how the government is doing in delivering services.

I have thought about this for a long time, but believe it or not this short exchange has changed my belief on how this should be approached.

First and foremost, I think that we need to start explaining to people why our government services delivery system is poorly set up to be governed by a nation of TV viewers, and a smaller more informed group of newspaper readers.

The web is all. All hail the web.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 10 May 2008 05:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not sure whether I'm heartbroken about movie critics disappearing from news rooms, if the reason is because people like to read about movies online and discuss them with friends rather than rely on "the critics" to tell them whether a movie's any good or not.

I was never crazy about the "critic culture" of movie reviewing anyhow. I often found that I liked movies that got panned, and disliked movies that got praised. And before the web came along and democratized media a lot more than it had been in the past, movie reviewing was a pretty elitist, authoritarian kind of thing where a few people with supposedly impeccable taste in movies dictated to everyone the proper response to the latest offerings.

We often feel that mainstream news punditry is very elitist when it comes to politics and news. Well, I don't think the web has succeeded (yet!) in overcoming the authority of the mainstream political pundits. But it looks like it's put a pretty good dent in the movie pundits.

I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. I'd rather have a conversation with babblers about whether a movie is good than to simply read some middle-aged white guy employed by the New York Times or the Globe and Mail telling me whether it's okay to like or dislike a movie. There's just as much expertise here, if not more.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 10 May 2008 05:54 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm not sure whether I'm heartbroken about movie critics disappearing from news rooms, if the reason is because people like to read about movies online and discuss them with friends rather than rely on "the critics" to tell them whether a movie's any good or not.

I was never crazy about the "critic culture" of movie reviewing anyhow. I often found that I liked movies that got panned, and disliked movies that got praised. And before the web came along and democratized media a lot more than it had been in the past, movie reviewing was a pretty elitist, authoritarian kind of thing where a few people with supposedly impeccable taste in movies dictated to everyone the proper response to the latest offerings.

We often feel that mainstream news punditry is very elitist when it comes to politics and news. Well, I don't think the web has succeeded (yet!) in overcoming the authority of the mainstream political pundits. But it looks like it's put a pretty good dent in the movie pundits.

I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. I'd rather have a conversation with babblers about whether a movie is good than to simply read some middle-aged white guy employed by the New York Times or the Globe and Mail telling me whether it's okay to like or dislike a movie. There's just as much expertise here, if not more.


I agree.... talking about movies interactively is the best way to learn about them.

I remember Siskel and Ebert's "At The Movies" starting in 1982. That show made it possible for people who lived in small towns (such as me, at the time) to rent videos for smaller films or foreign films that we wouldn't have access to before. It seems to me that that was one of the first events that led to today's "movie culture" where people quote Tarantino around the water cooler.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 10 May 2008 08:14 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
DoggBert:

An example just 'popped up' at me (not 1997 style though ! ) from the NYT.

See here:

NY Times

Now if this graph were presented continually so that we could click over to it and MONITOR what is going on with inflation, wouldn't that be helpful ?

I tried to get a project going on another web board, wherein people would contribute to a discussion to produce some metrics on healthcare that we would try to turn into graphical presentations.

At that time, there was a lot of discussion around healthcare but there were no common touchstones of information that we could refer to. The project was intended to produce something that we could monitor moving forward.

I had trouble because I didn't have enough interest, probably because people didn't get what I was going after there.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Dogbert
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posted 10 May 2008 12:47 PM      Profile for Dogbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1 g, if you please. I don't want to be mistaken for Snoop.

I'm not entirely sure I get what you're going after either. Nice graph though, and I'm all in favour of more stats easily available on the internet.

Information like CEOs get I'm not too sure about, though. Typically, all they see are numbers pulled out of some low-level person's ass, then massaged for political expediency by middle management until they bear no relationship to reality whatsoever.

Like this:


From: Elbonia | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 10 May 2008 01:44 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really don't know why the Internet needs more graphs, but this thread might help you out a bit.
From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 10 May 2008 08:51 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
PEOPLE need better information, and more graphical representations will help achieve that goal.

And the internet, with its goodness, is a good vehicle.

People need better information.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 27 May 2008 11:48 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's another example of straight-up information via the NYT:

Elevator Trappings !!!


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged

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