Indianapolis Star arts coverage

December 7, 2008
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In Sunday's Indianapolis Star, editor Dennis Ryerson commented on staff departures, announcing that "Talk of the Town," Susan Guyett's former column, will continue with another TBA writer. And that Jay Harvey will take over arts reviewing. See the story here.

When I blogged last week on the departure of Guyett, Chris Lloyd, Whitney Smith and Abe Aamidor, we had an overwhelming number of hits on this blog--along with some passionate reaction from readers.

Personally, I'm thrilled that the beat hasn't been abandoned completely. Critical reviews are an essential part of the mix for any city's daily paper. And I look forward to reading what Harvey has to say.

My questions for today:

Does Ryerson's announcement change your reaction to the news at the Star?

And what--as an arts creator, arts patron or someone just looking for a good read--are you going to be looking for from Harvey?

Your thoughts?
  • No. Ryerson is a corporate pig (and that is the nicest thing that can be said about him). If The Star wants to improve their readership ( both on-line and off) they need to give people something good to read. As someone who has read this paper since 1972 (when I delivered papers as a teenager), The Star is but a ghost of its former self.
  • From Jay Harvey, I anticipate more of what he has always given us in theatre reviews, news articles or feature stories; thorough professionalism and an indication that he had the knowledge or did the research. I welcome him back to the arts beat and wish the others well as they transition.

    RE: Gannett, neither my scorn nor my sarcasm will help anything. They'll claim they have their money constraints and their long range plans. It's a damn shame that keeping local reporters on a local paper are not in those plans. I've been a subscriber for 30 years ( I love the smell of newsprint in the morning). However, if the new incarnation doesn't please me, I won't hesitate to cancel and to tell Mr. Ryerson why.
    It will take twice as long to read, but I'd just as soon spend my money on the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal if I'm not going to
    read a hometown newspaper that doesn't cover my hometown.
  • Delighted that Jay Harvey will be once again providing us with intelligent, thoughtful commentary on the area arts scene. Wow! Such sad news to see some people go, but at least we can be pleased to see Jay in the forefront on arts criticism FINALLY AGAIN.
  • This is upseting but not shocking. As the general manager of an area hotel, I can state that we stopped taking a daily subscription that we gave away complimentary to our guests nearly a year ago. This was done mainly because most local content had been eliminated. There was little reason to take the Star and USA Today when the weekday editions have become pretty much one in the same. I wished to discuss this $10,000 .00 decision with someone at the Star when we cancelled. I have not been contacted to this date.
  • I too am glad to see the local arts beat hasn't been abandoned completely and that the post is being filled with a seasoned professional who knows the arts scene. I hope the same can be said of the buzz page, when that staffer is identified. Whether you read the section or not, Susan Guyett knew her stuff and worked diligently to develop her sources.

    The Star may be cutting costs by cutting jobs, but they are still losing if they don't find a way to value the relationships the information center staff have in the community.
  • Unfortunately, Harvey's reshuffling does nothing to mitigate the fact that visual arts coverage is practically nonexistent and has been since Skip Berry left, lo these many years. Theaters and concert venues need the coverage to sell tickets or the venue could close; a lack of publicity for exhibitions has no immediate effect on anyone except the artist who relies on exposure to make a living. If a living can't be made here, then artists simply won't show here and the community will suffer.
  • For those who think this is all/only about Ryerson, Gannett, and the Indy Star, please note that the Tribune Co., publisher of the LA Times and Chi Tribune, is looking at bankruptcy.

    Gannett didn't kill The Star. Yahoo, Google, and the Apple iPhone are the category killers at work here.
  • Susan and Abe will be sorely missed, as I've said before. Both deserve all the superlatives that longtime readers are airing about their work and contributions to the community.

    Regarding the arts beat, I'm delighted to see Jay Harvey take over. I had hoped he'd be tapped previously. Jay is a thorough pro and an excellent writer with the broad knowledge it takes to cover multiple arts. This is a tough job. As the late Charles Staff once confided to me, people in that position are asked to promote events, to review them and also to provide criticism. Go for it, Jay!

    (Ask me offline sometime about my first encounter with Jay's predecessor--let's compare stories.)

    I agree with JM about the need to shore up visual arts coverage. Let's hope the Star finds a way to maintain and even bolster the coverage of local arts, business and community issues that provides one of the main reasons to read and subscribe.
  • Thundermutt, I'm confused: are local news and reviews available from Yahoo, Google, and iPhones directly? Please show me how to get to them!

    As far as I know, those three category killers are NOT developing and sharing local content. That's the problem. There are very few authoratative voices answering the questions, What happened in Indianapolis today? What's going on in Indianapolis right now that I need to know about in order to be an informed citizen? What's coming up in Indianapolis that I might want to check out?

    As I've said before, local newspapers are valuable because of their skilled reporting of local NEWS, not because they have traditionally been made of paper.

    I am naive about a lot of things, I know, but it seems to me that if newspapers stop thinking of themselves as paper products and focus on sharpening their ability to create interesting content that is available nowhere else, then they'll not only survive but thrive.

    'Course, they also have to keep on enough local staff to respond to situations like Jeff's, above. The Star people missed a huge opportunity to present options when they ignored his request to discuss his decision to cancel his $10,000 subscription for his hotel.

    Anyway, I, too, am looking forward to getting to know Jay Harvey through his reviews. I hope I can find them on the Star's website!

    And, of course, I will continue to read Lou's reviews here in the IBJ. Lou, I am NOT a big Bob-and-Tom fan, but your review on the homepage of their latest comedy compilation CD set made me look at them in a new way.

    Hope Baugh -
  • There was a promised review of Indianapolis Opera's Hansel and Gretel. I never saw it. Was it ever published, and if so why can't I find it online? Thanks.
  • Great to have Jay Harvey back with his in depth knowledge and tell it like it is reviews. He has been missed these last years. Welcome home!

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