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July 29, 2009

A Second Act in Arts Journalism

"Faced with a choice between two evils, it's usually best to pick the one with a reliable paycheck," Scott McLemee writes today in Inside Higher Ed, explaining why, in the early 1980s, Jerome Weeks gravitated away from academia and into journalism -- a field that, of course, has turned out not to be so solid after all.

Jerome, a former NAJP fellow ('99-'00), spent most of the first act of his career at The Dallas Morning News, logging one decade as the paper's theater critic, another as its book critic. Then, with a buyout a few years ago, came an intermission. Now his second act is well under way, and by McLemee's accounting, it's a success. It's also in arts journalism, which these days is an achievement in itself.

McLemee, a fan in his youth of Dallas public broadcaster KERA, wrote last week of the education the station gave him then, how it subsequently seemed to have lost its way, and how, lately, it's returned to "old-school cultural earnestness" -- a characterization he intends as a compliment. One reason for KERA's revival appears to be the presence of Jerome, a producer and arts reporter at the PBS and NPR affiliate, where he works in radio, online and on TV as well. (Unlike many print journalists, he happens to look like an anchorman, which helps.)

"It sometimes seems I'm dispensing culture chat with an eyedropper," he tells McLemee. "But seriously, how many people can you name who regularly interview authors and artists and review their work -- on television, on radio and online?"
July 29, 2009 10:15 AM | | Comments (0)

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