The New York Times Cuts Tri-State Regional Theater, Arts, Food Coverage
This week, The New York Times laid to rest several of its regional beats covering theater, art, restaurants and other local cultural staples in New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island and Connecticut. Deadline reports that dozens of contributors were let go.
In an email on August 2, Metropolitan Editor for the Times Wendell Jamieson informed freelance critics and reporters of the cuts, writing:
"Dean Baquet and I have decided that the resources and energy currently devoted to these local pages could be better directed elsewhere. Therefore, we will publish our final reviews and features in the New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island and Connecticut editions on August 28. The Metropolitan section as it appears in New York City will still be published and circulated throughout the region, but it will no longer include zoned content...Sorry about this, folks. I want to thank you for all you've done, all the fine writing you've given our readers. I wish you all the best."
Commenting on the loss of coverage, Artistic Director of the Schoolhouse Theater in Westchester Bram Lewis told Deadline: "For all of us in the arts, this decision is an unmitigated disaster. The Schoolhouse Theater has been reviewed by Times critics...for more than 30 years, our record will be gone. The 50% jump in box office will be gone. The support in funding with a Times review will be gone."
Mark Lamos, Artistic Director of Westport Country Playhouse, which consistently presents productions featuring top Broadway talent and has occasionally had shows transfer to Broadway, added: "The impact is profound. Our audience relies on the Times to bring them up-to-date cultural news. We have a vital and robust theater scene that has been in the forefront of the American non-profit theater movement for years, not to mention great restaurants, important museums and musical performances of rare distinction. Why let your readership down? I find it inexplicable. Money, I guess."
The Times reportedly told Deadline the layoffs were done for "structural and philosophical, not economic" reasons.