A Slight Digression Before the Tribeca Film Festival Opens

Another sign that the apocalypse isn't coming nearly fast enough: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which I have always considered one of the nation's better daily newspapers -- and I read it online several times a week -- has announced that it is doing away with the position of book review editor. One assumes that this is the beginning of the end of one of the better literary pages in the country.

Needless to say, as a book author and as an avid reader, I am mightily pissed off (to put it as politely as I can manage at the moment). As I said in an e-mail to some 40 colleagues moments ago, every time I turn around some son-of-a-bitch has his hand in pocket, fishing around for my wallet. This is just the latest in an ongoing string of bad news regarding newspaper coverage of new books.

Happily, the National Book Critics Circle (and in the interest of full disclosure, I note that I am a former member) has organized an on-line petition drive to try to get the AJC to reinstate the position. By all means, go here and sign the petition. And urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.

And if you feel the sudden urge to make your feelings known to the powers that be at the Journal-Constitution, write to the AJC's editor Julia Wallace (jwallace@ajc.com) and the publisher, John Mellott (jmellott@ajc.com), and advocate for the continuance of a book page in Atlanta with a diversity of voices, not simply fed by wire copy from the AP or New York Times.


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