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December 23   -   Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

An editor tells the NY Times: I don’t read newspapers for the pictures

More mail coming our way on the contentious redesign of the NY Times arts section: For Dean Baquet Executive Editor Dear Mr. Baquet. While we have never met, I spent the last few decades at The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, institutions that have also periodically redesigned themselves — and not always happily. That said, your new arts section (actually boxed reviews were tried out during Paul Goldberger’s tenure) is particularly dimwitted in its old-fashioned notion that subscribers like me read papers for their pictures. Just now, I have stared at two stupid pictures of an idiotic game show. Wouldn’t one do? And why do I need two pictures of dancers in tights and little skirts — outfits worn by a lot of dancers actually. The gigantic illustration of the Coward playlet is wider than the stage at 59E59. I’m not finished. What a day. Please study your mildly interesting story about preening academics tussling over a Beethoven manuscript. Now why did this need three illustrations? Instead you might have squeezed in a review of an area of inquiry you almost completely ignore though it is the most important of topics in a time when so many of us walk around gob-smacked by the latest flabbergasting odes to money and power. Architecture. Your arts section should reflect the city illuminating your name. Please try again. Manuela Hoelterhoff Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and critic. cc. Liz Spayd

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