Thursday, April 19, 2007

AJC scraps book editor post

Via Critical Mass comes the news that Atlanta Journal Constitution has scrapped its Book Editor post, which was occupied by Teresa Weaver. The link is here:

http://bookcriticscircle.blogspot.com/2007/04/atlanta-journal-constitution-eliminates.html

This is shocking news, and there are editor and publisher e-mails included in the CM post to register protests. I too have written to them and here is the text of my mail:

I write not just as a reviewer but as a consumer of intellectual nourishment which is offered in the form of books pages in daily publications. This is shocking news, totally unexpected and, may I add, unwarranted. The books page is the heart of any newspaper's cultural coverage, and your scrapping of the post of book editor betrays a lack of the appreciation of a newspaper's true role in society.

Are we going to dumb down for fear of falling readership and allow space to silly movies and art events which defy the very definition of art. Ms. Weaver's books coverage made AJC one of America's few papers to proudly boast a healthy literary section. It has now been trampled upon by the rigours of commercialism. I doubt this would help bottomlines much, but it is going to cost the paper tremendous goodwill. Countless people who keenly follow books pages will be heartbroken.

What is the press's objective, if not to initiate thinking via forums such as books pages? I understand that newspapers are slugging it out to maintain relevance, but that still does not justify the scrapping of the books page. This is akin to deleting the Edit/Op-ed pages.

I strongly protest this (wanton?) act and beseech you to reconsider.

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