In my past life as a staff arts critic for The Ann Arbor News, I sometimes worried that my hard-fought battles to articulate my responses to shows might be, in the end, little more than a self-indulgent (albeit personally satisfying) intellectual exercise.
But then I’d run into the occasional person who took my reviews to heart. For instance, I once had lunch with my father and his former boss, and before we even sat down, my dad’s boss peppered me with questions like, “Why didn’t you care for The Mountaintop? I really liked that show. I mean, I read your review, but I really want to talk more about that show with you.”
So while not every Ann Arbor News subscriber read the paper’s locally produced cultural reviews, those who did often had strong reactions, and felt compelled (and downright excited) to extend the conversation further. Yet because of the revenue struggles news outlets have faced across the country, arts critics have been among the first journalists shown the door, rendering regional reviewers nearly extinct in many markets. And here in Washtenaw County, many in the arts community are bemoaning the effects of that transition. READ THE REST HERE