A Bone to Pick with The New York Times

A Bone to Pick with The New York Times

So, yes, a bone to pick.

In many news organs, newspapers, magazines, certainly ezines and the like, readers find that they can make comments on the stories and articles they read. The writer may come back to comment. Or, the writer may leave the readers to their own squabbles.

But, apparently not so in the NYT. At least, not always.

The case in point is an article by Anthony Tommasini in the February 12, 2010 issue. This article had as its theme the breaking down of stereotypical genres in the serious music of the day.

Now, this is important stuff. There is definitely, at least in Mr Tommasini’s back yard, a lot of genre bending going on. There is the Wordless Music Project. There is at (Le) Poisson Rouge in the old Village Gate a new destination for the New York New Music scene. Even the New York Philharmonic is getting into the act with Maestro Gilbert’s announcements concerning his second season, another NYT article we might like to address or attack. We have groups like Ethel and eighth blackbird. We have composers like Nico Muhly and David Lang one of the founders of Bang On A Can. David just won the Pulitzer for his Little Matchgirl Passion.

And, on radio, we have it all being broadcast and streamed by Q2, the 24/7 eclectic music stream of WQXR. Putting it all in focus is young phenom violist Nadia Sirota on Q2, 12:00-4:00, noon and midnight, with many and varied slants on what is happening.

Ann Midgette in The Washington Post was able to immediately respond. To her article one could make a comment. She also pointed the reader to a response by Kyle Gann. At The moment, Maestro Gann seems to be not taking comments; but he has in the past, and probably will again.

In actual fact, Greg Sandow has been thinking about this for a long time, at least as far back as a 2003 article in New Music Box, the blog of the American Music Center, New York City. Looking at that article, there was no chance for comments on what Greg called Alternative Classical, shortened to alt-classical. But, rest assured, if you visit Greg’s current blog at Arts Journal, you will see that Greg is totally with the new environment that the Times is currently spurning. Greg is the Comment King. Sometimes, the comments exceed the total word count of Greg’s incredibly long pieces. And, Greg feeds off of the comments. He responds to some and writes new articles based on others. I wonder if Mr Tommasini reads Mr. Sandow?

The point is, we the readers of Mr Tommasini’s article are not free to start up with either Mr Tommasini or each other. I view this as a failure of the NYT to keep up with the currency of today’s journalism. What I have described above are the leitmotifs (Pacem, Wagner fans) of the day. They are the bleeding edge. The Riley, Glass, & Reich company is beginning to look so establishment.

It was the Times’ financial predicament which had it finally ship out WQXR in a triangular sale involving WNYC and a Spanish language station.

The Times is going through all sorts of agonies to try and figure out its future. One place that it might look, admittedly one small place, is how to keep relevant to the people who read it in print, on line, in RSS, egad, maybe on their iPhones.

Wake up Sulzbergers.

Advertisements