Collected Stories « PREV | NEXT »: A James Ehnes Alert

July 12, 2010

OC Register kills its Arts Blog

I was surprised and saddened to learn that the editors of the Orange County Register (where I was the dance critic for 18 years) have decided to shut down the blog written by the Register's three remaining arts staff writers/critics: The Arts Blog. My friend and former colleague Tim Mangan, an award-winning classical music writer with a devoted following, said the staff was told Friday. He does not say why the plug was pulled. Arts coverage will continue, apparently, in the "print product" and on the website. From my vantage, it's one more in an endless string of hari-kari choices that have diminished this once-excellent regional newspaper. 

I had forgotten that Tim was pioneer blogger in the arts section, the first to launch us into new territory when he accompanied the Pacific Symphony on its inaugural European tour in March 2006. He was a natural at it: witty, wry, clever, conversational and opinionated. He went mano-a-mano with inferior technology that kept him up half the night as he tried to post and send reviews. But when he came back from Europe and returned to the newsroom (oops, I mean the "content center"), he kept at it, urging the rest of us to give it a try. 

Soon, it wasn't a choice - it was mandatory. We all had to blog, and we had to market ourselves and we had to market the blog, and there were ominous-sounding threats of what might happen if we didn't get our numbers up. We got weekly reports of how many reader "clicks" we had. All of a sudden, we were expected to perform like the real estate blog (overpriced McMansions being the engine that runs things, or at least, they were until the crash of 2008). So we all (more or less) looked for topics that would draw eyeballs. The visual arts critic hit pay dirt when "The Real Housewives of Orange County" became a part of his beat. 

At its best, The Arts Blog was a lively conversation with readers near and far about music, theater, visual arts and dance. I don't know the official reason that the blog was dropped. Still, theater (and now dance) critic Paul Hodgins notes in an addendum that The Arts Blog is one of the most widely read blogs about classical music. That was not good enough, apparently.

July 12, 2010 8:52 AM | | Comments (1)


Tim just opened his own blog at

Still, these are sad times when the fine arts are not supported by the media. They are treated like poor, unwanted relations. If there is no money there, they are not interested (news and culture be damned).

I had enjoyed reading your pieces in the OC Register, Laura. Keep on writing!

Leave a comment


Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value. ARTicles is edited by Laura Collins-Hughes. To contact her, click here.

    ARTicles Bloggers Meet our bloggers: Sasha Anawalt, MJ Andersen, Alicia Anstead, Laura Bleiberg, Larry Blumenfeld, Jeanne Carstensen, Robert Christgau, Laura Collins-Hughes, Thomas Conner, Lily Tung Crystal, Richard Goldstein, Patti Hartigan, Glenn Kenny, Wendy Lesser, Ruth Lopez, Nancy Malitz, Douglas McLennan, Tom Moon, Abe Peck, Peter Plagens, John Rockwell, Werner Trieschmann, Lesley Valdes and Douglas Wolk. more

    NAJP NAJP is America's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of arts and cultural journalism. The NAJP has produced research, publications and discussions and works to bring together journalists, artists, news executives, cultural organization administrators, funders and others concerned with arts and culture in America today. more

    Join NAJP Join America's largest organization of arts journalists. Here's how more

see all archives


Recent Comments