Variety notes the trend of local newspapers shaking up, and all-together slashing, TV coverage and criticism. Does this make sense? Local publications have begun to hedge their assets by focusing on local content. The idea is that, in the digital age, coverage of national TV from innumerable local critics becomes redundant. Local newspapers need to focus on their distinguishing factors–their locations.
But doesn’t that belie the power of the Internet which promises more voices and greater choice for consumers? Not exactly.
Blogger Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine (a former TV critic himself) says “TV as we knew it is exploding and so should the critics who cover it. There is no way — no way — that one critic can perform a one-size-fits-all service anymore.”
The power that will democratize TV has already begun to efficiently realign the talent that covers it. Instead of reading Dusty Saunders because you happen to live in Denver, or Jonathan Storm because you were born in Philadelphia, you’ll read Matt Kirsh or Steve Bryant because you share their tastes, and appreciate their delivery. Instead of thousands of TV critics each covering the same TV for local markets, we’ll have millions of critics covering different TV for content markets.
What’s most exciting is that the opportunity has arisen for us all to become active participants in the conversation of television criticism. Media is no longer a spectator’s sport; it’s an open forum.
So, how will you f ind the critics, or curators, that speak to your interests…or, better yet, what niche will you critique?