Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Happened to the Art?

People are wondering what happened with the Chicago Reader and its art section. So we contacted them about it. Alison True, the Editor of the Reader, sent us a speedy reply.
    ART or IDIOCY:
    Everyone has noticed the massive cut of art listings in the last Reader. What happened? Is this the new way art will be "listed" in the Reader. As a reporter on art, of sorts, people have been asking me if I know anything.

    Also what happens to Fred Camper? Will he continue to contribute to the Reader?

    The Chicago Reader:
    In an effort to cut costs (you've probably heard about the financial challenges print media are facing--printing costs, competition from craigslist, etc) we've cut back on what we put into print but continue to offer complete listings on the Web. Our site is a major destination for thousands of Chicagoans, and our listings there will continue to improve as we add to it. We can't be everything to everyone, but we're trying to do whatever we do well.

    We'll still be publishing art reviews and artist profiles elsewhere in the paper, and as far as I know Fred will be one of the people writing them.

    Thanks for the note,

> The Chicago Reader
> Reader Art Listings


softdog said...

The Reader is falling apart. They now no longer have complete listings for anything in print, except maybe music. My source is one of the Reader's longtime staff who worked on setting and proofreading the listings quit recently due to the increasing workload without any more pay. She said the reader is getting top heavy, with the production staff under more strain. They may be down to one or two people.

Thing is, the print version did have some validity and use, but if people can't rely on it to be complete or accurate they'll stop picking it up. Plus I think full color photos are more expensive than black and white listings.

edgewaterwriter said...

Unfortunately this is not the worst of the Reader's decline. The thing it did best -- narrative feature writing about uniquely Chicago subjects, including art and artists -- has also completely disappeared. This, of course, isn't news: It went away maybe five years ago.

If the Reader is having business problems, it is rooted in a problem of content. All the design changes just point out that there is nothing to read anymore in the Reader.

Maybe the Web site can bail them out, but nobody has made money that way. My prediction is they will fire Alison True and her "top heavy" staff, or they will sell to the same guys who bought the Village Voice and those guys will do it. The second option would be the worse of the two, because then there's no chance that Chicago will recapture what was once a wonderful institution.