Chicago Taste Makers Raise Ire, Not Capital

by | Dec 2, 2006

Matthew Shaer of The Boston Globe has a go at Pitchfork Media in a Slate piece I enjoyed reading.

Pitchfork needs to provoke to survive–a strategy that arguably extends to publishing verbose and unreadable writing. (Pitchfork prose can be) dense without being insightful, personal without being interesting. In the realm of Pitchfork, though, a writer being obtuse and personal has a similar effect to that of a writer being deliberately confrontational: It’s good for business. As the popularity of political blogs has proven, informal, intimate writing can often trump serious, “public” writing.

Pitchfork founder, Ryan Schreibe’s big wager is that music journalism should be an even more intimate affair than politics–that musical taste is deeply idiosyncratic and that writing about music requires writers who are closely in touch with what makes a band or a song matter to them.

There’s little doubt that indie media companies like Pitchfork rattle some cages. Journalists are used to being acknowledged as experts in their chosen subjects. But now, a blog written by some kid in Dayton can have greater reach and influence than a 150-year old newspaper with a highly paid staff. That is disruptive, but in a good way. In general, citizen media is disruptive for the people.