Julia Wallace, the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, responds to Robert Spano's accusation that the paper is doing away with classical-music criticism. The notion that the Journal-Constitution would want to balance criticism with behind-the-scenes arts coverage is in itself sensible. Obvious, in fact; newspapers have been doing exactly that for a hundred years. The fact remains: it would be ridiculous and embarrassing if the lead paper of a major city such as Atlanta were to lack authoritative, regularly published critics in each area of the arts. It remains unclear what exactly the paper is intending to do.
In Minnesota, meanwhile, the Star Tribune appears to have cut loose its only full-time classical critic, Michael Anthony. Lani Willis of the Minnesota Opera laments the decision in a letter to the editor. (Via the Minnesota Public Radio blog. Read more here.) Have these editors all attended the same rationalization seminar? They declare themselves devoted to arts coverage, yet they are eliminating or restricting the people best suited to provide that coverage. You're not going to get smart reporting on the arts unless you have specialists on staff who know the field.