Here’s something I bet you didn’t expect: Starting Wednesday, January 11, I will become the arts editor of the Eugene Weekly.
Yes, an actual newspaper job, with paycheck and everything. There I’ll be writing and editing stories about art and music around Lane County.
That’s not much different from the work I’ve done for the past twenty years, first for The Register-Guard and, during the past two and a half years, on Eugene Art Talk. But it’s not quite the same. Writing for an alt-weekly offers not only a different audience but an entirely different newsroom culture, and I’m looking forward to making that change after decades spent writing for mainstream newspapers.
So what’s that mean for Eugene Art Talk?
A couple things. First off, I will continue to write online, although with a somewhat different approach. In general, I won’t be looking to cover arts world news, as that will certainly go to my employers at the Weekly. I will continue to write some reviews, including some of those same-night theater and symphony pieces that have been popular with readers. In general, I hope, as I move forward, to offer readers broader commentary on the state of art and music in Eugene and its surroundings.
Second, I’m going to stop charging subscriptions for the site. When I started Eugene Art Talk in summer 2014, I decided that a reader subscription model was the most straightforward approach. Readers could pay for stories, rather than advertisers. To my surprise, that worked rather well. The idea was that I would lock up the best stories on the site so they could be read only by subscribers who paid $5 a month or $50 a year for access.
There was just one small problem: Locking up the website meant the best stories on Eugene Art Talk couldn’t be read by everyone who was interested. And that often hurt the arts groups who were the subjects of those stories. So after a few months I stopped locking up any stories at all. Readers kept subscribing anyway, which meant they were really patrons. Kind of nice.
But as of today I have canceled all subscriptions, stopped the automatic credit card payments that have been the lifeblood of Eugene Art Talk, and shut down the entire membership/subscription/financial apparatus on the site. The site is now free for everyone, and will remain that way.
It’s been a fun two and a half years. I’ve posted, as of today, 328 pieces on the blog, most written by me, with a few by Suzi Steffen, Serena Markstrom and Susan Palmer. I’ve broken occasional news of importance to the arts world, written profiles and detailed interviews, and have done a lot of quick same-night performance reviews.
Thanks to all who have supported this little experiment in local journalism! I’ve really liked the opportunity to continue to write about the arts here and get paid a bit for it. And I’ve enjoyed the interactions that the site created with readers.
Now, I’m looking forward to continuing to write about the arts for a different publication, with a different audience, and getting to know many more readers.
Stay tuned, and Happy 2017!