When David Cote was laid off from the post of theatre editor and chief theatre critic at Time Out New York in April, it gave him a chance to take stock, not only for himself but for his field. As he puts it, “I felt like I’d been extruded from a large and poorly assembled piece of machinery that I really ought to study and understand, since I’d already made a progress through its guts.” In this issue he gives us the results of his research and posits one prescription: embedded journalism. “Isn’t it time the nation’s institutions took control of their own story?” he offers. “The media has been failing the arts for years; maybe it’s time the arts saved the media.”
New York theatre critic par excellence Helen Shaw is often in conversation with American Theatre’s editors about the vagaries and inequities of arts journalism (including on a memorable July 13, 2017, episode of our OffScript podcast). For her feature this month, “A Critics Bestiary,” she set out to celebrate the work of her peers the best way she knows how: through a critical lens. But she also hopes to clear up some confusion around the “c” word itself: “Writing critically isn’t about finding fault. It’s a whole bouquet of tasks: It’s about attention and passion and engagement. So when I found myself writing critically about critics, I wanted to bring that part of the mindset into play.”
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