the oregonian newspaper now less than useless to the arts

I could be mistaken, but there has not been a review of an Oregon Symphony classical performance since November 2015. Shame on you, Oregonian! Aside from making itself the perfect size for lining the bottom of a bird cage, this ‘flagship’ publication is well nigh doing nothing for the classical music community. It’s a shame, with the years of distinguished writing by David Stabler and James McQuillen, that the management of the paper clearly sees no value in reviewing performances by the largest arts organization in the state of Oregon. The latest mention of the OSO is in a letter to the editor about rude audience members at our closing Mahler concert. But they will do a slideshow of a nude production of Shakespeare in Central Park. Please.

15 Replies to “the oregonian newspaper now less than useless to the arts”

  1. Um, Charles. The largest arts organization in Oregon by far is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Do they still get reviews? Does Portland Centre Stage? OBT? Or is it just classical music that’s been cut?

    1. We’re largest in Portland metropolitan area, I think. It is my strong impression, as a regular reader of the paper, that classical music has seen a greater reduction in reviews in comparison with theater and dance, but I haven’t tried to look at it from an objective POV.

    2. Register Guard in Eugene does a good job covering the Eugene Symphony, Bach Festival, and other classical music organizations… so, I don’t think it’s that classical music has been cut.

    3. I believe we’re the largest classical music org in the state. I should’ve been more clear about that.

      Also, I’m specifically talking about classical music coverage in the Oregonian newspaper. There have been some small previews (of specials, mostly), but no reviews that I’ve seen since late 2015.
      I’ve heard rumors of “pay to play”, which I very much hope isn’t the case. But stage productions as well as the opera have gotten way more coverage than the OSO. But overall, the classical coverage has dropped way off in the past year. Even Third Angle and Fear No Music have not gotten pre- or reviews of late. It’s clearly an editorial decision.

  2. I’m a bit confused by your note, Charles. You grieve the absence of OSO reviews specifically & then go on to say the O is “well nigh doing nothing for the classical music community” generally.
    Not sure if this is the case or not as i don’t regularly read the O. Is it?
    But, in terms of the OSO, a few extra gigs with scantily clad Storm Large would probably re-erect some serious O interest.
    Just sayin’.

      1. Actually, my confusion had more to do with your wording that appeared to suggest the OSO is essentially the classical music community in toto – which, of course, it is not.
        Your follow up note extends your concern to Fear No Music & Third Angle – two groups mostly populated by OSO members. In other words, are you concerned about shrinking coverage for organizations not directly peopled by your brethren? I believe you are but the limited focus of your initial rant doesn’t establish that.
        Finally, i suggest you drop the bird cage rhetoric which isn’t all that likely to help your/OUR cause.

        1. I’m concerned for my own well-being, yes. A bit un-evolved, I know, but that can’t be helped. It’s also a bit funny to be taken to task for my rhetoric when there is a lot of inflammatory rhetoric about my organization and my colleagues flying around in the non-mainstream artistic community. I hardly have any pull with anyone who can make a difference, so I’ll continue to say what I like.

          1. I 100% support you & others continuing to say what you & they like.
            That said, we all know that some rhetoric is more inflammatory &/or constructive than others.
            Avanti . . .

  3. The near-total loss of reviews is a blow to the cultural conversation in these parts, but the paper is at least still a place to advertise. Much of our audience still reads the paper paper — as I do, before I gratefully use it to line the bottom of the bird cage — so at least that is helpful to our cause, at least in helping get the word out. How much, I’m not completely sure, but there aren’t yet any clear alternatives. Social media and the OregonLive website aren’t fully replacing the daily paper yet as a vehicle for previews and such, since much of our core audience doesn’t use them very much. All Classical Portland has become the best place to reach our audience, I believe. I think my understanding is up to date, but it’s such a fast-changing landscape, who knows?

    1. You also get a fine push now & then in The Mercury – thanx to Brian Horay. I wonder if that coverage has helped widen your audience demographics? I hope so.

      1. Charles is absolutely right. In fact, the O published a letter to the editor I wrote complaining of this very fact. We have one of the finest regional orchestras in the country, plus, the opera, plus the PBO, etc. etc. etc., and there is scarcely a mention in the Oregonian of any of this on anything like a regular basis. The Friday A & E occasionally has reviews of theater and other events, but, in general, the arts really take it in the shorts. One comment that appeared online in response to my letter indicated that arts reviews don’t get enough “clicks”; hence, they don’t get published. They don’t even appear anymore in Oregon Live. There used to be teasers in the Monday paper that would direct you to a review on Oregon Live, but no more. I facetiously said that they could cut one page of sports and substitute it for one page for the arts.

        It’s really pathetic, but then, the paper itself is increasingly pathetic especially as the editorial page has become more and more conservative.

        Ward Nelson

        1. Thanx, we all appreciate you taking time to write into The O with your concerns.
          However, just as the OSO adds more & more Pop events in an effort to pimp along their bottom line, i suspect that some of The O’s editorial decisions are similarly motivated.

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