More news from the department of bad newspaper management: Creative Loafing in Tampa has fired longtime film critic Lance Goldenberg.
Like so many similarly misguided daily newspapers across the country (including the Tampa Tribune), CL has opted to replace locally generated film coverage with film coverage provided by some other people, from somewhere else, who aren't known to the local community. Gee, and I thought CL was cut from a different cloth.
Yes, sure, the paper is likely to cite sound "financial" reasons for this decision. But, really, THIS from a publication that has regularly (and rightfully) taken local daily newspapers to task for the same type of decisions? Hmmmm.
Are the short-term savings really going to trump what CL will lose, over the long haul, in terms of its credibility as a reliable, authoritative source for quality arts and entertainment reporting?
Isn't A/E reporting one of CL's strengths?
Is CL really THAT clueless about how important Lance's work is to local film fans, and about how much he has done to ensure that local film festivals thrived?
Whose head is next on CL's chopping block?
Yes, it's yet another sign of incredible short-sightedness by yet another newspaper that's apparently way out of touch with its readers' needs, and incapable of appreciating the value of its most talented staffers, AND the importance of "institutional memory." You can't put a price tag on someone with the depth and breadth of contacts that Lance has in the Tampa Bay area film community (and beyond).
Lance has always been one of the chief reasons I've picked up Creative Loafing/Weekly Planet.
I've always appreciated his insight as a film critic, his obvious love for film and understanding of film history, his passion for world cinema and a writing style that has always been inviting -- intelligent, entertaining -- to readers.
Yes, he wrote long, essay-style reviews (an approach often disdained by the McNews crowd). He took full advantage of the opportunity to write at length about movies that he deemed important, AND about local film events that deserved attention.
I've also appreciated how Lance has refused to toe the line when it comes to sensitive/controversial political, social and religious issues. To his credit, and to his readers' benefit, he's gone his own way, often times diverging from the paper's pretty clear editorial tilt to the left. He was something of a maverick. That was refreshing.
If the Tampa area indeed has possessed a "film culture" over the course of the 20 years that I've lived in Tampa, Lance is one of the reasons that that culture has thrived.
Perhaps CL will respond to readers' distaste with this situation by revisiting the paper's decision?
Lance, in his note about all of this, wrote that he has been "let go" and that CL in Tampa and Sarasota henceforth will mostly recycle film reviews from the chain's staff writers in Atlanta.