This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

The #LegendsoftheSummer conversation continues!

Yesterday I was browsing my Facebook feed and came across this:

I was curious to see why the Straight – Vancouver’s leading authority on everything A&E in town – thought Wednesday night’s concert was so unimpressive. As you know from yesterday’s blog, I didn’t think the concert was perfect, but I had a good time.

I thought the piece was one of the most brutal concert reviews I’ve ever read (click here to read it). Perhaps I am biased because I was there, but this went a step further than the other Straight columnist who didn’t know about Prince’s second encore and said that he had not performed “When Doves Cry.” This was a condescending opinion column that had very little commentary on the actual music or concert production, and, in my opinion, was a paradoxical (both attacking and flattering) one at that.

And I started thinking not just about the Straight’s choice in posting this sort of a review, but of journalism in general. Is my friend true, that this is where it is going? If that is the case, a piece of my heart just died. In the 8th grade they drilled into us the importance of reading the news… and if this is the news we are presenting to the youth of today, it worries me.

Being a blogger that has reviewed many events and products before, I know how much of a tough gig reviewing is. You want to be nice to the people or company or event you’re reviewing (or not), but you also want to be true to yourself and to readers. After all, all columnists have their favourite musical genres and artists in mind before they review concerts. But where do you draw the line between opinion and simply attacking?

One of the mainstream media reviews I read from The Province was as equally sarcastic and cheeky (I mean, pop and hip hop still aren’t considered the most classy or distinguished of musical genres) but I felt at least there was some music journalism involved. It actually doesn’t really matter what they think because as long as crowds show up and are happy, the music management teams don’t nit-pick on every criticism given to their artists.

I found the problem in the article was the general sense that unless you were a “faithful” (whatever that meant) there was no sense in going to such a concert. I found much of the language in the review inappropriate as well. For a personal blog where you can say whatever the hell you want, sure, but if the Straight wants to maintain its reputation (which, according to my friend is clinging to life) perhaps it should edit content that is clearly opinion before it hits publish?

I’ll end with the sets of words I felt were a bit unnecessary and are in my opinion questionable with regards to journalism.

“normals” (a type of person)
“blow” (verb)
“performers that you couldn’t care less about”
“fuck-tonne” (adjective)
“left-field, cheapo attempt” (adjectives + noun)
“smoking crack” (verb)

What do you think? Is this the real journalism finally coming through, or does it cross an ethical line?

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