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Commenting On Commentary Commenting on Commentary (On Reporting and Reviews): The Clyde Fitch Report

November 22, 2010

The Brown Tweed Society is pleased to welcome new contributing partner Leonard Jacobs, Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, who will routinely weigh in with news from the New York theater scene and ongoing arts issues.

To say that we live in the age of the derivative is to be redundant: I don’t think anyone really knows what constitutes original reporting anymore. True, if you’re the first to report something, you’ve broken news; the theory was that if you can break news, you’ll burnish your brand and thus become a trusted source of information. The theory, however, is more and more being thwarted by reality.

 

Today, for example, CNN.com, via People.com, published a sad piece on the death of an 11-year-old Broadway actress, Shannon Tavarez. At the end, CNN.com noted that BroadwayWorld.com reported Tavarez’s death first. Does that that mean I’ll be turning to BroadwayWorld.com for my theatre news? Unlikely. Not to diss BroadwayWorld.com, but I wasn’t looking for Broadway news. I was looking for political news and there on CNN’s homepage was “11-year-old Broadway Singer Dies.” A great, if extremely sad, headline. The “news,” meanwhile, was already reporting about reporting about reporting.

Somewhat in this vein was Amanda Ameer’s recent Life’s a Pitch blog post on ArtsJournal.com. The headline: “This Age Without Last Words.” It raises a variety of issues, some new, some not, with regard to contemporary arts reporting and criticism, including whether the derivative-of-a-derivative-of-derivative construct applies here, too.

(The funny thing is that if I write about the critic she mentions who reviewed a music concert he didn’t attend, I am, in essence, adding to the derivative prolixity of the Web. So click on the above link(s) and discover for yourself.)

Personally, I’m more intrigued by Ameer’s look at arts criticism generally — its currently utility and value, if you could call it that, to the marketplace.

 

Read more…

Visit Leonard Jacobs and The Clyde Fitch Report daily for for more posts on arts, theater and politics. Follow the Clyde Fitch Report on Twitter at @clydefitch.

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