Coming in the context of declining page counts from Morrissey Blvd., depressing news has reached us that Boston’s newspaper of record may be dispensing with or severely curtailing the services of its freelance reviewers of the classical music and gallery scenes. And with chief classical critic Jeremy Eichler going on sabbatical next season, that will, according to one source, leave music editor Steven Smith as the last standing arts staffer (in Eichler’s absence) to write whatever reviews can make it into print
Lloyd Schwartz, Boston’s classical critic of longest standing, told the Intelligencer this afternoon, “If this is true, it would be a catastrophe for Boston’s smaller classical music groups as well as for Boston’s galleries.”
We are hearing that the Globe is looking to do more estimable in-depth features and previews and fewer reviews as part of a reinvention proposed in a staff memo by Globe Editor Brian McGrory [here]. He reportedly views his mission to stanch the flow of red ink and transform the thinning journal through “a major reassessment of its strategy and coverage priorities to keep pace with the ongoing tumult of the digital age.”
Though BMInt has no access to the Globe’s marketing research, we submit that such an assessment may not best take into account that fact that readers who enjoy classical music, a particularly well-off demographic and influential cohort, constitute stalwart Globe subscribers.
The Globe has not responded as to when or if these changes might be made manifest, but if implemented, they seem likely to become noticeable with the commencement of the new season.
Over many years we have very much enjoyed comparing our opinions with those of freelancers Matthew Guerrieri, Jeffrey Gantz, David Weininger and others. Please reconsider muting their trumpets.