Monday, December 03, 2007

The slow fade of film critics

Matt Eagan of The Hartford Courant offers an intelligent, insightful and... and... oh, hell, just plain goddamn depressing piece about the seemingly irreversible decline in the number of film critics -- and fine arts critics -- at newspapers across the United States. Among the money quotes:

"The era of the newspaper film critic, the era of newspaper criticism, seems to be coming to a rapid and unceremonious end. As recently as a decade ago, no self-respecting mid-sized daily newspaper would have dreamed of publishing without a film critic.These days only major cities have them and those that remain (other than [Roger] Ebert) have seen their influence wane."

Every so often, I am asked by a young writer how he or she can get a job as a professional film critic -- that is, how he or she can get paid to write film reviews for a daily newspaper. And I must admit: Increasingly, I am tempted to respond: "Well, you can't. Not anymore. You're better off starting your own website. Pretty soon, the Internet is the only place you'll find serious film critcism." On the other hand, maybe I should just direct them to Eagan's article.

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