LISTENER CUTS BACK ON THEATRE REVIEWS
Here is a statement from Guy Somerset, Books & Culture Editor, New Zealand Listener, dated 23 May 2012:
The Listener's commitment to the arts in New Zealand is second to no other publication – something that has been demonstrated over many years and continues to be demonstrated week in and week out through the coverage in our Arts & Books section (or Books & Culture, as it will be called from this weekend), as well as elsewhere in the magazine with features about arts-related issues and interviews with leading arts practitioners.
However, with finite space and resources, we have to ensure we focus on the things our readers value most, which, first and foremost, time and time again, has proven to be our books coverage.
We, of course, continue to cover the other arts – and do so with a rarely matched breadth, utilising New Zealand's best critics and arts writers.
However, we must be selective about what we write about, to ensure a fair distribution of coverage across pop and classical music, film, visual art, theatre, dance, etc, while also recognising we are a national magazine and need to provide something for readers everywhere.
In order to achieve this, we are dialling back our theatre reviews, but will continue to review the most important productions and those where reviews will resonate with readers beyond the productions' local audiences.
At the same time, we will have more preview articles, where the interview with a playwright or actor will be of interest in its own right, regardless of readers' ability to attend the actual production.
We are also introducing a weekly column called Take Five, in which we will highlight a handful of events worth checking out that week, and this will include pointers to plays.
As is already the case, our articles will be available both in the print edition of the magazine and later online for comment.
Combined, this theatre coverage continues to far exceed anything being offered by other national publications.
What we are doing is bringing our theatre reviewing policy in line with that we have for other arts reviews (including visual art, classical music, dance, etc – all of which continue) and ensuring we concentrate on what is most noteworthy.
This is the editorial judgment our readers trust us to deliver them.