"Writing is migrating to the web"

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You probably don’t get up early on Saturday mornings. But if you do, I want to recommend Studio 360. It’s on WHYY in Philadelphia from 7 am-8 am, but according to the show’s website, it gets play throughout the country — check the station listings button. Kurt Andersen, the host, has a different art world participant on each week, and he weaves news and background stories about art, music, theatre and literature around discussions with the weekly interviewee. Andersen’s a good interviewer and the show’s a good listen.

This morning, Andersen had critic Terry Teachout talking about criticism and about writing for newspapers (he writes for the Washington Post) and for his blog, about last night.

When asked about why he would bother to write a blog when he already had a great gig at a major newspaper, Teachout said “in arts criticism, I have no doubt writing is migrating to the web.”

He was enthusiastic about being in the blogsphere and said, even though he doesn’t make a pip’s worth of money on it, he gets paid in emails, from readers around the world who write in sharing their point of view and enthusiasm about things.

“Most [blogs] are written by people I don’t know,” he said. “These are people making their reputation in the medium. You can start a blog, and if you’re any good at it, you will be noticed.”

Teachout, who writes about all the arts, from music to theatre to visual art, is a positivist. “The best criticism is enthusiastic,” he said, explaining it was important to him to convey his passion about what he loved. He loves to discover new talent, for example, and is credited with discovering jazz singer Diana Krall.

The critic said he heard Krall first on cd then heard her perform live in a “dump in Philadelphia” and was instantly smitten by her “presence” in the songs and her talent. He was the first to write about her, and his piece put her on the map and changed her career. (If you haven’t heard Krall and want more, you can hear her on the World Cafe, this Thursday, April 22, as David Dye interviews her and plays samples. World cafe is on WXPN in Philadelphia, but the show’s website has other station listings )

Apart from the “dump” reference (what was that place anyway?), that’s a nice sentiment — to frame criticism as a hunt and gather that changes people’s lives.

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features & interviews, reviews

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