Results tagged “reporting” from ARTicles

On Friday in the Los Angeles Times, Mike Boehm reported more fallout from the cash crisis that recently imperiled that city's Museum of Contemporary Art: damning findings by the state and an embarrassing official slap.

The California Attorney General's office determined that the Museum of Contemporary Art skirted state law for years enroute to financial meltdown in late 2008 and ordered the museum to hire a consultant to help improve its financial management. The attorney general also required MOCA board members to receive special training in their fiduciary duties.

The findings and "required corrective actions" were included in a two-page letter to MOCA last November. The attorney general's office provided it to The Times this week after repeated inquiries.

Now comes news in The New York Times that the little-known, publicly funded New York State Theatre Institute "is rife with corruption, mismanagement, nepotism and possibly illegal conduct, according to a scathing report released on Tuesday by the state inspector general's office."

The report alleges that the artistic director, Patricia Snyder, treated the group as a personal fiefdom, routinely doling out acting roles, directing jobs, production work and other benefits to herself and her family members. Ms. Snyder steered a total of more than $700,000 in payments to her husband, her two sons, her two daughters-in-law and to herself, the report said.

Danny Hakim's story mentions that the report comes "four years after a New York Times article" -- his own -- "detailed nepotism and questionable spending practices by the institute."

Note those "repeated inquiries" Boehm made, and his aggressive reporting on the museum's crisis at the time. Note that long-ago Hakim story, the result of a careful examination of the theater's own records.

Boehm is an arts reporter, one of a diminishing number on staff at newspapers. Hakim covers Albany, not the arts, at least not usually; in this case, the two intersect. In arts journalism, we have a little habit of forgetting to include hard news in the definition of what we do. But it's one of the most important aspects of our coverage. It's also time-consuming, expensive, and therefore endangered. As these stories illustrate, killing the watchdog is a dangerous thing to do.

April 20, 2010 12:05 PM |

On Feb. 5 the New York Times ran an article by Gia Kourlas, a freelance dance critic, headlined "Bolshoi Director May Take Job at City Ballet." Alexei Ratmansky, a much-admired ballet choreographer, was giving up his position as artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and was "in negotiations with New York City Ballet to become its resident choreographer," succeeding Christopher Wheeldon.

On Feb. 13 appeared another Times article, this one by Daniel J. Wakin, headlined "Bolshoi's Director Won't Join City Ballet." Ratmansky was still leaving the Bolshoi, but negotiations with City Ballet had collapsed because Ratmansky couldn't commit sufficient time to a residency, given his worldwide choreographic commitments.

So far, so legitimate. For me, however, the juxtaposition of the two articles recalled another Times article, this one by Robin Pogrebin dated April 27, 2006. It was called "Ciry Opera Plans New Hall With Ties to Lincoln Center." The New York City Opera, long dissatisfied with the New York State Theater and frustrated in its effort to join a proposed new cultural center at Ground Zero, had turned to a former Red Cross site near Lincoln Center. The implication was strong that a deal could be cut and the company would move, with added speculation about how the State Theater would fill the months left void when City Opera decamped.

Ten days later the deal fell apart, without explanation. No follow-up investagation of this collapse appeared in theTimes for two months. The paper ran no article on the subject until another Pogrebin piece appeared on July 4, which referred in passing to the reasons for the breakdown in negotiations and then looked forward to City Opera's problematic future.

February 20, 2008 5:38 PM |


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