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Until this morning, I lived in hope that The New York Times was somehow above the jettisoning of music critics by daily newspapers in North America. Then I heard that Allan Kozinn has been reassigned to “general culture” reporting.
Next to his Times colleague Anthony Tommassini, Kozinn represented the best of contemporary criticism in classical music: concise yet descriptive, informed but never pompous, fair but incisive. I have read his reviews with pleasure for years, and will miss this colourful, informative window into the vibrant musical life of New York City.
Given that it’s only been a year since I was shuffled out of the critic’s chair at the Star, I can also imagine the intense frustration Kozinn must feel at being so close to his old job, yet not being able to do it any longer. And, as any journalist in any beat knows, the career choices are stark these days. There are no staff critics’ jobs open anywhere, so one either ensures a steady living by accepting the new position, or jumps into the choppy waters of freelancing.
That’s an especially daunting choice in middle age and in a country with no public health care.
I’ve signed a petition to reinstate Kozinn, if only to be one of the hopefully thousands of voices that will help remind the editors at The New York Times that their newspaper and writers are read and respected far beyond their metropolitan boroughs. Check it out here.