Just to be clear, it’s virtually impossible to make a living as a freelance journalist, even harder as a freelance music critic.
The pay per article is too low. The self-employment tax is too high. You don’t have health care or benefits.
I’ve had experience going down this road. For 11 years in the 1980s and 90s, I worked full and half-time in the University Research Library at UCLA while freelancing as a music critic first for the Herald Examiner and then for the L.A. Times. At the Times I was their workhorse, and only ever managed to match my half-time UCLA salary once or twice. I got my healthcare at UCLA too. …
Which is not to say I don’t appreciate the offers to freelance I’ve received. I do very much! …
Newspapers (and by that I mean both online and print versions) have done an extraordinarily poor job of chronicling their own decline and demise. …
I don’t know how many clicks the lark I mentioned in a previous post accumulated, but I would bet plenty. It was all over Twitter. …
Lots of support still pouring in, and I thank every one of you. …
“Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.” — Samuel Johnson
I’m so sorry to read about what has happened to you. But I’ve long sensed that the OC Register — as is true of many or most newspapers and the print media in general — has been living on borrowed time for quite awhile.
The changing economy, greatly affected by new technology, makes me wary and skittish enough. But the changing culture, in which past trends are being continuously upended by “hip and trendy” (I’m always surprised by the number of people of all backgrounds and even ages who’ve I come across who appear to truly enjoy listening to, for example, hip-hop or rap music. Ugh!) is the proverbial straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.
I’ve been busy here at Tanglewood the past few weeks and only now have I caught up with the calamitous news on your end.
I’ve long felt that print newspapers are a slowly-dying part of our civilization, partially replaced by audio-visual elements. Is there an enlightened PBS television station or NPR radio station in your area? If I were in charge of such an entity, I’d immediately hire you as my prized commentator on the arts, with plenty of air time at your disposal…..That might be worth looking into.
All the best, and keep in touch.
Do you or Martin Bookspan remember the Met Opera commentator who I heard last in the 80’s or 90’s who was a New England yankee aristocrat with a golden voice–an older gentleman. I thought about him when I saw Derek Jeter and the great Yankee announcer–who would say “Coming to the platen number 2–Derek Jeter, ” Those golden voices are rare indeed! firstname.lastname@example.org
KUSC might be hard to crack but 89.3 FM or KPFK might be easier.
I just learned about the Register’s incredibly bad judgment in laying you off. It was such a pleasure reading you, and so important to have coverage of the Orange County classical music scene, only rarely reported on by the LA Times. I hope something materializes for you soon. Perhaps something at KOCE, KPCC, UCI, Chapman, Long Beach State, Fullerton College? I wish I had some sway with the Register! All the best.
I leave town for a well deserved vacation in Colorado and come back to find the final straw has broken the critical camel’s back. I, and my friend Duane, have been your loyal followers in the past years, and now have lost one of the most talented spokespersons for classical music in Southern California. I could hardly wait to read what you’d say re a concert I’d just attended. Or a concert I wasn’t able to attend. Knowing your background as a (gulp;-) trombonist, I felt you were in the midst – so to speak – of the performance, with knowledge that many other writers couldn’t match.
I feel that the last 15 -20 years or so have been wonderfully rich for Southern California music lovers when Mehta left, Salonen arrived and the LA Phil was rejuvenated, beautiful new venues Disney Hall and our own Segerstrom Center brought in visiting orchestras from around the world, Gustavo Dudamel arrived when Salonen departed, and our own Pacific Symphony has become a major contributor to the Sounds of Socal.
We will miss your thoughts on it all.
P.S. Thank you for turning me on to the book of criticism by Paul Bowles, and hope our paths cross again sometime soon. I’ll be watching and listening.
If you will pardon me–You forget five years when the LA Philharmonic was led by one of the world’s great conductors–Carlo Maria Gulini. with memorable performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Third and Ninth, Schubert’s Ninth performed at Santa Ana High School, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and his last concert–Bruckner’s Ninth which I attended at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion when beautiful three, four or five year old girls were lifted to the Podium by their fathers to present the Maestro with bouquets and who are now in their thirties! There was also a couple of years of Andre Previn who should have lasted longer.
And don’t forget Giulini’s “Falstaff.” And then there was Kurt Sanderling.