are movie critics an endangered species?

It's no secret that I'd love to be a full-time movie critic. (I know, join the club!) But today I read a very disturbing article by David Carr at the New York Times that outlines a disturbing trend in film criticism.

Print media all over the country are, apparently, laying off critics. And, according to the article, it may have something to do with us, the movie-blogging community.

Without film critics, great indie movies which are light on crowd appeal will have a hard time flourishing... this could be really bad for the non-commercial, innovative, unique films we love.

Could we actually be part of the problem? Is this going to make it harder to make a living doing what we really love (writing about film)?

Read the article here.
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5 Response to "are movie critics an endangered species?"

  1. Fletch says:
    April 2, 2008 at 3:34 PM

    I'm not as concerned. Certainly, I feel for those that are losing their jobs, but in terms film reviewing, I agree that the web (and people like us) are just a part of some migration of the act.

    As you know, there are currently hundreds, if not thousands, of movie blogs (and related sites) out there. With eyeballs being asked to move from one medium to another, it's no surprise to see the loss, especially when coupled with the state of the national economy.

    Also, as Lacey pointed out - when they started, there was one film critic, and now there are five (though, to be fair, the number of papers they own has grown significantly as well). Nonetheless, I agree that there is no need for a "local" film critic in each city where a paper is distributed.

  2. Patricia Perry says:
    April 2, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    I'm with Fletch. I have to agree with the person quoted in the article who said that most serious film lovers have already migrated to reading reviews on the Web.

    Andrew O'Hehir on Salon does more to get the word out about small, independent films than any print critic I can think of.

  3. Anonymous Says:
    April 3, 2008 at 9:33 AM

    Nayana, check out Emerson's scanners blog for a great discussion of this. You can get to it from a post at my site if you wish, the one about David Ansen's "retirement."

    I have to say that while I will miss print criticism, the rags brought it on themselves by offering great critics -- Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott, Jonathan Rosenbaum, David Edelstein, Roger Ebert, the list goes on -- for FREE! Is is any wonder the revenue streams have dried up?

  4. Nayana Anthony says:
    April 7, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    But really... how great are our chances of ever making a living at this? I wonder (and sometimes worry) about that.

  5. Lee says:
    April 7, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    The chances are a lot tougher, and it is because of us. Thanks to online media, everyone can let their voice be heard, and we all think we're right. I have been really distressed lately when reading articles about favorite critics being laid off (like Nathan Lee of The Village Voice), and have a feeling it may only get worse. I've been writing freelance film criticism for almost ten years, and while there was a time I had some hope of getting paid for it, the idea is fading past (sadly). The only thing we can really do to keep the dream alive is to continue sharing our passion for movies with each other.


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