Friday, October 28, 2011

Theatre Coverage: How the Denver Post Does It

Profiled by David Cote as one of the country's twelve most influential theatre critics, theatre reporter John Moore of the Denver Post describes in his blog Running Lines the paper's multifaceted coverage of theatre in the state:

Running Lines John Moore Denver Post

John Moore, Denver Post Theatre Reporter (via

I’m just a little surprised (but not at all ungrateful) that the reason I was told I pretty much made the list isn’t reflected in the article [. . . .] I’m no dummy. I didn’t make it because I produce reviews you might mistake for the New Yorker’s. What I will own is a work ethic that has allowed our Denver Post team to cover an average of 160 to 180 plays a year for the past decade.

But the real reason I was included, I was told, is the multimedia innovations we have implemented on The Denver Post’s online theater page that have advanced the ways in which major metropolitan newspapers can cover theater in the age of social media. Some people have this misguided impression that the “legacy” (old school) media is dying, and I say it’s only dying if you stubbornly go down with the Santa Maria, instead of taking the wheel of a modern ocean liner.

At The Denver Post, we cover theater in print as much as any paper of our size could be possibly expected to in this era of shrinking news holes – we average three reviews, one advance, one issue story and one news roundup every week. But it’s been five years since we fully embraced the amazing possibilities that social media provide for us to expand our reach. In doing so, we’ve been able to both reach new audiences, and exponentially expand the ways in which we can get word out about what’s going on in local theater. Much more so than we were ever able to do with print alone.

Off the top of my head, I am thinking about our:

*Running Lines video podcasts (more than 200 episodes now, including audio segments)

*Standing O – our full-service web site dedicated exclusively to high-school theater in Colorado.

*Our “Running Lines” theater blog – home to breaking news, cast lists, spotlight on college theater and whatever else comes up during the day. This summer, when a visiting New York actor went missing on the streets of Denver, “Running Lines” had record traffic by giving the concerned a place to virtually gather, and helped (I think) coordinate efforts to bring the mystery to a quick and positive close.

*New Play Sampling Series – These are 5-to-10-page excerpts from new plays being performed in the area. This helps both theaters reach readers who have no prior knowledge of an unfamiliar title.

*Interactive presence on Facebook and Twitter.

*Denver Post Theatre ListingsOur commitment to maintaining comprehensive online listings of every scheduled production, by opening date, by company, or by all current offerings.

*Our 24-7 online photo gallery that includes one production shot from every currently running production, which we embed in several places including our home page, so that readers can get a visual sense of their theatergoing options all in one place.

I think, too, that the comments that are already showing up at the bottom of David’s American Theatre story are worth an ongoing conversation. The list centers on legacy media, but there’s no doubt of the impact that new critics whose distribution is solely through the internet are having.

Click to read John Moore's full blog posting at the Denver Post

View 25-minute interview of John Moore by Eden Lang on her web program 'In Focus' of June 25, 2011 (especially recommended for his discussion of the role of the reviewer) (27 min. on YouTube -- the version without the initial advertising)

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