Most people in media are aware that the Grey Lady is having a haircut. That means lots of journos being relieved of their jobs, some walking of their own volition, others being escorted to the door.
Among the latter, I learn today, is the veteran music critic and reporter, Allan Kozinn.
Let me declare an interest: Allan is a good colleague and personal friend. I commissioned him to write the best-ever short biography of the Beatles. We see eye to eye on some things, differ on many others.
Allan was for many years the most perceptive music critic on the arts desk, overlooked for promotion in various internal back-stabbings (working at the New York Times requires a heavy suit of moral body-armour).
In the last such round, Allan was taken off the critical beat and shunted off to the news desk to work on arts news stories.
Since the Times doesn’t know an arts story unless it comes from a handful of PRs, this must have been a frustrating experience for an expert judge of musical quality and news values. Allan performed the task uncomplaining. He receieved recent assurances that he was not at risk because he was incredibly productive and unquestionably knowledgeable.
Now he has been rewarded with the sack.
I feel terribly sorry for him. I feel even sorrier for the New York Times which, time after time, refuses to recognise and sensibly engage the experts under its own roof and, time after time, promotes mediocre keyboard pounders at the expense of refined and intelligent writers.
This is a rotten decision by a newspaper that cannot get much right, a newspaper that has lost its authority.
(Further arts casualties should emerge during the course of today. Indeed they have: see update here.)
UPDATE: Don’t bother to seek review in the Times. Click here.