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O.C. Register's classical-music critic to cover celebrity beat

August 25, 2010 | 10:57 am

And so another classical-music journalist falls in the forest.

Timothy Mangan, who covers the classical-music beat for the Orange County Register as a critic and reporter, wrote on his personal blog Wednesday that the newspaper has re-assigned him to the celebrity beat.

Register He said that beginning Sept. 13, he will be writing the "People" column five days a week for the Register. In his new job, he will be covering such page-view generating notables as Lindsay Lohan, Zsa-Zsa Gabor and Mel Gibson. "No joke," he wrote.

Mangan wrote that he "will continue to be a music critic, as time allows. How much time that will be I don’t know. I’m guessing about 50 percent, but that might be optimistic. The People column will certainly take a lot of my time and energy. So, we’ll see."

Rebecca Allen, the Register's deputy editor for features, said Wednesday that Mangan has not been reassigned and declined to comment further.

Reached by phone, Mangan reaffirmed that he will start covering the celebrity beat in September. He added that it remains to be determined how much time he will have to devote to classical-music coverage.

"They haven't said I can't cover classical music," Mangan said. But, he added, "you can't disagree that I won't be able to cover as much classical music as before."

The Register's future classical coverage is likely to be limited to major events in Orange County.  "I would think the Pacific Symphony would be a main part of my coverage. The Philharmonic Society of Orange County will also be crucial," said Mangan. 

In the past, Mangan has covered the major classical and operatic groups all around Southern California, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the L.A. Opera.

Earlier this summer, the Register shut down its arts blog, for which Mangan was a major contributor. At the time, Allen, the paper's deputy editor for features, stated that the blog didn't get much traction online and that the paper's "arts reporters have many responsibilities – including writing news, previews and reviews."

Mangan's new beat represents relatively unfamiliar territory for him. He said that his celebrity journalism is experience is limited, though he has interviewed Garrison Keillor.

"I don't have a lot readers compared to other writers around here and I think this is seen as a good way of subsidizing the classical beat," he said.

-- David Ng

Image credit: Orange County Register

Comments () | Archives (3)

Rebecca Allen's comment that Tim Mangan has not been reassigned made me think of the Cinderella story from childhood. The mean step-mother tells Cinderella she can go to the ball (technically, she never said Cinderella couldn't!), but only IF she cleaned and cooked and labored... an endless list of duties that hindered Cinderella's chances of making it to the ball.

So Rebecca may think she's saving face by implying Tim has merely been given extra duties, an added title, (or however she wants to spin it). The truth is, the Register is denying Tim the support and the time to do what he does best-- cover the classical music scene.

By the way, that Register Arts Blog that Ms. Allen thinks so little of, recently won "Best Blog in OC" by an independent journalist group.

Mangan said it himself: Now that it's possible to measure readers, the paper can see that classical music doesn't draw as many as other topics. As Ng notes, celebs draw page views.

I think Mangan is being remarkably generous in spirit by categorizing this as "a way of subsidizing the classical beat."

The Orange County Register: Flushing journalism -- and class -- down the toilet since the turn of the millenium...


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