Austin, Texas, newspaper eliminates full-time arts writer position

Posted on: December 5, 2016

“As of Dec. 31, the Austin American-Statesman is eliminating the position of full-time arts writer, meaning that Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, who has been employed there since 1999, will be out of a job,” writes Robert Faires in Wednesday’s (11/30) Austin Chronicle (Texas). “Statesman Editor Debbie Hiott confirmed that, beginning in 2017, the local daily will no longer ‘have a dedicated reporter covering only the visual and performing arts.’ She attributed the move to a familiar culprit: the long, steady drop-off of advertising income that’s had mainstream newspapers across the country cutting back staff and coverage until they’re practically on life support…. The Great Staff Buyouts of 2009 and 2011 saw the departure of many senior [Statesman] staffers in the editorial department (among them, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ben Sargent). Staff critics covering television and film—once among the most heavily promoted writers at the Statesman—had their space cut back and/or positions eliminated…. ‘We are committed to continuing coverage of the arts because we know it is important in Austin,’ [Hiott] wrote…. Hiott’s assurance that arts coverage will continue at the Statesman doesn’t address the kind of arts coverage it will be, however.”

Posted December 5, 2016