Vancouver’s arts media coverage hasn’t shrunk. Instead, it has moved online.

It started a few months ago when longtime Georgia Straight critic Colin Thomas was unceremoniously fired. More recently, Jo Ledingham was let go after nearly 30 years with the Vancouver Courier.

Much of the chatter over both firings has lamented the resulting lack of print media coverage. In some instances the comments are as if Vancouver’s art coverage has somehow disappeared.  As someone who spends many, many hours writing about the local arts scene, it is hard not take those statements personally.

It also demeans the great work that is being done online. Just because two of our city’s best critics are no longer being published in print should not diminish what they do. Both continue with an online presence. Read some of the comments on Facebook though and you would think that our city has virtually no arts coverage.

Vancouver’s arts media coverage hasn’t shrunk. Instead, it has moved online.  In my particular case, it has been online for more than ten years.

This idea that the “holy grail” continues to be a mention in print is simply outdated. The result is a failure to recognize the internet as the new source for information and news.

While we should all be disappointed that print media continues to reduce their arts coverage, we should also be celebrating and promoting what continues online.

While we should all be disappointed that print media continues to reduce their arts coverage, we should also be celebrating and promoting what continues online. Print may not be dead, but it certainly is a pale shadow of what it used to be.

What does this shift mean for readers and the arts community? It is certainly not business as usual.

It remains a delicate symbiotic relationship. Media may drive audiences, but for it to work effectively it also requires the arts organizations to embrace this new digital reality. Many understand this shift.  Others are reluctant to embrace it.

Online arts coverage is no longer the ugly step sister. Ignore that fact and you will be left behind.