New York Times drops its arts shorts

The paper has summarily shut down ArtsBeat, its attempt to compete on arts news with the blogosphere.

ArtsBeat was slow, stiff and unedifying.

Few will mourn its passing.

The Times will survive a while yet.

Here’s the Times ArtsBeat obit.



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  • I thought it had potential. I liked that it was the one place that NY Times readers could comment on/have a discussion about arts stories. But in recent months they started burying it deeper & deeper within the website, making it harder & harder to find, and new stories became rare. By this point, I probably would never have noticed its official demise if I hadn’t read about it here on SD.

    • Since the latest redesign, most of the material that would have gone to ArtsBeat in previous years simply got independent article pages posted directly to the main Arts page. In a way, it’s simply getting rid of an extra layer that didn’t fir in the new design.

    • Hmmm.. Interesting suggestion. Maybe the New Yorker’s Alex Ross could succeed Anthony Tommassini? Then we’d be treated to real and sustantive critical observations instead of court hagiography (especially regarding the Met). With Ross, the deadly boring Lepage Ring would have no chance to be kept in the Met’s repertoire….;-)

      • Keep in mind, though, that part of the reason that Alex’s reviews are so good to read (besides his incredible smarts) is that The New Yorker gives him a good amount of space to develop his observations. Print newspapers rarely give a critic that much space; often it’s half of what Alex gets now. And we don’t yet seem to be at the point where a newspaper critic gets to do a longer version of the print review for the Web.

  • Aw, that’s too bad. I liked ArtsBeat, when I remembered it was there. And Bruce is right, it did seem to be the only place at the NYT you could comment on an arts “article.” You could never comment on an Anthony Tommasini article, no matter how outrageous it was….probably by design. And yet their restaurant critic, Pete Wells, writes reviews that accept comments (and generate tons of them). I guess Wells has thicker skin than Tommasini.

    • Exactly. There is no channel for concert goers and musicians to challenge Tommasini’s outrageous views. The thousands of people who enjoy certain types of programming are unable to get a word in; meanwhile Tommasini raves about the success of a concert in some small venue (attendance 200, 1 performance) while criticizing a program attended by thousands which may also be presented multiple times.
      The NY Times really can’t find a critic with the common sense to understand this?

      • Hang on there. Are you seriously suggesting that a sensible critic must enjoy a performance in a 2,000- or 3,000-seat hall more than one in a 200-seat hall. At least as you’ve worded it here, you seem to be saying something pretty close to that. Please clarify.

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