As print media continues in its struggles, the online news and information community increases in importance. There have been many discussions both here and in many other places about the changing face of arts coverage and how quickly the major news sources seem to be abandoning this aspect of their reporting. Blogs are quickly moving to fill this void, but are they really the answer to making sure that the public gets informed perspective about the art that is taking place in their community?
On one hand, online media is a great boon to any arts community. It's cheap and easily accessible. Reviewers are offering their opinions about a work of art despite howsoever they try to cover it with experience and professional criticism. The favorable review still comes down to whether or not they liked a piece. Anyone can write about that. And perhaps having a wider spectrum of opinions will help the consumer in the long run; they'll get a fairer representation of the piece that they are considering attending.
On the other hand, how do you track whose opinion matters? Just a few years ago blogs were really nothing more than public diaries. Now they have become a source of news and special interest coverage. Think of the thousands of blogs that go unread by anyone on a daily basis. How does one find the right blog for the information that you want? And how do you know whether or not this particular blog is credible? You can't tell. Most people don't have enough time to follow that many websites long enough to really make a critical analysis of the critical analysis. Having reviewers at a major paper lends some credibility. Granted you are limited to that one opinion, but you generally accept that their opinion means something.
Blogs are rising to prominence simply to fill a void left by the print media. Two years ago, bloggers would have no hope of being invited to a Broadway in Chicago opening out of the blue - now that's the reality. But are blogs really the best answer or are they just a temporary place holder until the real replacement comes along?
Happy Birthday: Jean Anouilh (1910-1987)