Friday, May 04, 2007

Support Your Local Film Critic!

What's the point of a locally based movie critic?

I could go on, but briefly here's the big deal: Traditionally, movie fans have enjoyed active reader-writer relationships with the film-reviewing guy or gal at the local paper.

A movie fan, over time, learns what to expect -- love, hate, agree, disagree -- from the local film critic.

Ideally, the local movie reviewer entertains, educates and offers insight on what he or she sees. A strong local critic can also keep underpublicized movies from falling through the cracks and can shine a light on local filmmakers, film festivals and film-related organizations.

That's called ARTS COVERAGE, and we still need it.

That reader-writer relationship, a real connection with a flesh-and-blood person at the local media outlet (rather than a reviewer from some distant locale) helps keep readers reading and viewers viewing.

(All of this is a bit of media history and common sense that seems to be lost on the new breed of axe-happy editors at newspapers around Florida and across the country).

Long story short: Bob Ross was one of those longtime locally based critics who had a vital relationship with readers. He had a high profile, reviewing for TV and radio in addition to providing film coverage and writing about multiple areas of arts and entertainment for his print-outlet home.

Now, though, he's been set free, so to speak. And you can find Bob's reviews online at Bob Ross Movies. Check out his site as soon as you can.

And don't neglect to read and correspond with the full-time film critics still standing in the Tampa Bay area -- Steve Persall at the St. Petersburg Times and Lance Goldenberg at Creative Loafing/Tampa.

Full disclosure: Bob, Steve, Lance and I all belong to the Florida Film Critics Circle. For a complete list of members and contact information, click here. I continue to write about movies for several daily and weekly newspapers, including Las Vegas City Life, the St. Petersburg Times and Folio Weekly.


tampafilmfan said...

Nice post. I just heard about Bob Ross' website a little while ago and am looking foward to seeing what he does with it.

Have you heard about the book reviewers who are also losing their jobs? I think it's the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that's in the news because of this.

Those of us who dream of writing reviews for newspapers probably will never have a chance.

Philip Booth said...

Hi, tampafilmfan.
Thanks much for reading and responding.

Yes, I just read in the NYTimes this week that the Atlanta Journal Constitution's book editor got canned, or is getting canned.

I've also heard that their longtime film critic took a buy-out offer (leaving only one person to cover movies there) and that one of their two music critics will be forced out.

I certainly hope that the powers that be at our local papers keep our good book editors around.

You're right -- traditional print journalism is vanishing before our very eyes, and a lot more quickly than perhaps anyone has expected.

Call me crazy (or just old-fashioned), but I'd still rather sit down, in a comfortable chair, coffee in hand, with a book review section than being forced to read reviews online.