The big news in our little corner of the universe yesterday was that Jim DeRogatis has resigned after 15 years as pop music critic for the Sun Times. He is one critic that I respect, can always count on to be honest, and have looked up to since I started writing about music myself not too long ago. Look at me talking like he's gone away....really nothing changes for me, I'll still be reading his stuff online and listening to the same podcast like I always have! He is moving on to teach full time at Columbia College, but will still be writing, now for WBEZ's Vocalo blog. Of course there are opinions and WTFs galore, but I'm just happy that he's still going to be on Sound Opinions with Greg Kot (often dubbed the Siskel & Ebert of music). I look forward to that podcast every week.
So, who will replace him at the Sun Times? But does it matter who replaces him? As @ourmaninchicago said on Twitter, "DeRo's move to Vocalo is a huge statement, both about @WBEZ and @SunTimes." It's no secret that newspapers are slowly dying, and now that DeRo has jumped ship, there are two very important points to make. One is a point that Bill Wyman made on his Hittsville blog--that people like DeRogatis and Roger Ebert are major contributing factors in what make the paper still relevant, so what happens when they leave? The other is that one of the only reasons the music reviewer position was still relevant (in print) was because DeRo had it for so long. His familiarity, experience and reputation made it relevant. And thats a brand he will take with him to Vocalo. So, in my opinion, whoever takes on that position vacated by DeRo better come with a reputation of their own, or they may as well be jumping on a sinking ship.
Here's a little more info and insight on his move:
Robert Feder announces the news on Volcalo.
Tankboy provides some insight into why his move may not be such a shock at all.