Thursday, January 24, 2008

Addressing The Indy's article on the upcoming N&O Great 8

Tomorrow, The News & Observer, the paper where I work as a Web content producer, will publish its annual Great 8, rock critic David Menconi's list of eight local bands that are really going to be deserving of your attention in the coming year. If you go to that URL now (Thursday, Jan. 24), you'll see a teaser video for tomorrow's big multimedia package, which several folks -- including myself in a very small way -- helped create. Tomorrow, the full story and multimedia will be available. Other than that, I have nothing to do with local music coverage in the N&O.

This past Wednesday, The Independent Weekly, the alt-weekly where I was music editor before moving to The N&O, published a scathing and misinformed critique of The News & Observer's local music coverage. Grayson Currin, the current music editor at the Indy, wrote the article, and I actually believe he has a point. The N&O should do more on local music. But isn't the timing a little strange here? The N&O does a big piece on local music so, it's time to write about how the paper doesn't cover local music? And what's up with the horn-tootin' on the Birds of Avalon piece? Is the real argument here "The N&O doesn't write about local music, but we do, so we're great"? How does this argument tie in with the limp defense of the controversial "Eh, Whatever" that also found its way into Grayson's article?

Singling out David Menconi personally in that is pretty unfair, considering the fact that David DOES write quite a bit about local music, and frequently breaks big stories, on his blog. Having artwork that seems to personally lampoon David is not just snarky, it's mean.

But what continues to stick in my craw is the fact that the article names this year's Great 8, two days ahead of when the line-up is supposed to be officially announced. Now, I know the Great 8 is not exactly a state secret. Anyone who knows anything about local music can look at the teaser video and figure it out. But going ahead and spilling the beans has a "gotcha" feel that's just plain childish.

My co-workers seem a lot less concerned with this than I am. Most seem to feel (rightly) that this article will only lead new people to the Great 8 and the multimedia. I hope it does, because it's a great package, and a fine list of bands. I'm planning to release my own Great 8 tomorrow (sans the nice multimedia package). Just like last year, most of my choices will be different from David's, but we do agree on one band: Megafaun -- which, in case you didn't know, is the band of Bradley Cook, Grayson's roommate and the guy with whom he founded Burly Time Records. You'll have to check in tomorrow to find out about the other seven.


Anonymous said...

I have not read Grayson's article, I think I can speak for many of the local music scene in that a lot of people, including myself, think it is time for changing of the guard at the N&O. Especially if they want to keep and acquire new readers.

Also, and maybe I'm wrong as I have no access to traffic info, but I would think that his most visable work is his reviews in the regular paper and What's UP vs. his blog.

Anonymous said...

i agree with this blog entirely. in response to Raleigh Rockstress, i have to point out that A. Menconi, who is behind the Great 8 and is the subject of ridicule in the picture, would most likely have more local coverage if he could. but im sure his bosses have some say in this, and B. the point of the News&Observer isn't to constantly cover local music. they are a much bigger paper. Does the Indy cover every show that comes to Walnut Creek? nope. everything has its place. i for one am grateful that the N&O offers as much local support as it does. You could go to a lot of different states and pick up the biggest paper there and i doubt you would find much mention of whats going on at clubs along the lines of the Nightlight or Duke Coffeehouse.