Patti Hartigan: April 2008 Archives
When I was fresh out of college, I took a job at a non-arts related publication just to beef up the resume. Long story short: I was on the fast track and quickly found myself promoted to managing editor of a monthly magazine (what were they thinking?!!). Anyway, I ended up doing most of the work and getting none of the credit, and as a result, my boss tried to fire me. You know how that goes. After freaking out for a few hours, I had a lawyer friend send a stern warning to the publisher, along with a package of damning documents, a letter of resignation, and a request for a handsome severance. The PTB apologized and asked me to stay, but I left happily and began doing what I really wanted to do, which was to write about the arts. Best career move I ever made.
There wasn't anything particularly brave about that move - I
was a kid with a beat-up car, a bunch of roommates, and few responsibilities
beyond growing up, paying the rent, and staying out of trouble. But I do know
that gut-wrenching feeling of rejection, that gnawing question of what to do
next, so I have enormous respect for people who manage to take a bad situation
and turn it into something better. We could all use a bit of inspiration from
such stories, especially in these fragile times. And that's why I want to tell
you about the Actors' Shakespeare Project, an artist-run troupe here in
Congratulations also go out to my former Boston Globe colleague Mark Feeney, who won this year's Pulitzer for criticism. Mark, I'm told, gave a warm and gracious speech, in which he pointed out that all the finalists deserve praise. He shared credit with everyone, even taking the time to thank the librarians and copy editors, who are so important to the process but share little of the glory. One colleague who heard the speech told me that he hadn't felt this inspired since he first walked into the Globe building nearly two decades ago, noting that it reminded him of why he got into this business in the first place. So here's to all the winners and finalists -- and to the whole team of people who make it all possible.
That said, today's piece in the Globe had a most interesting quote from Globe publisher Steven P. Ainsely that bears repeating:
"In a time when so many newspapers are having to weigh difficult decisions about what coverage is important, I'm very proud that the Globe and its newsroom have continued to stress the importance of arts coverage in a community that values it so highly."Those are encouraging words, and to be fair, for the most part they're true, especially when you consider the hemorrhaging going at papers all over the country. The Globe staff still includes two movie critics, two television critics, a classical music critic, two rock critics, a theater critic, an arts reporter, and a few generalists who fill in as needed. Coverage and staffing, though, is not what it was when I was on the staff, and the section continues to shrink in size. (The Monday and Wednesday sections were just combined with other sections, which cuts space significantly.) Jazz, world music, and, to some extent, dance have fallen by the wayside, and many of the city's smaller, but worthy arts organizations bemoan the loss of coverage. Still, it is encouraging to see the publisher's words in print and on the record. Let's hope they're not just words for Awards Day, and that they continue to ring true in the unpredictable (and terrifying) future.