A good friend of mine, and former professor, TJ Sullivan, has launched a new blog chronicling the downfall of newspapers around the country. And like the good journalist that I am, my affection for the printed word runs deep. I’ve been a loyal subscriber to the New York Times for many years. And when I was back in Los Angeles, I also gave in and paid attention to the west coast red-headed stepchild, the LATimes. But I read much more news online, which I admit is easier, thanks to rss feeds, email alerts and iPhone apps.
The question is, what type of content grabs my attention more than anything else? Honestly, I’m a columnist junkie. David Brooks, Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Rich Lowry and Andrew Sullivan are just a few on my morning reading list. I also immerse myself in Hollywood trade columns and blogs, specifically Peter Bart, Brian Lowry, James Hibberd and Steve Zeitchik.
Yet, it is Michael Riedel’s column in the New York Post that is both my guilty pleasure and border-line addiction. I find myself yearning for his often biting commentary on Broadway happenings. Aside from having worked as as theatre critic, my appreciation for Broadway and live theatre in general is a big part of who I am. So it only makes sense that I would be so attracted to Riedel’s writings, as he exposes the underbelly of Broadway.
Reading his latest column, on Jane Fonda’s return to the Great White Way, I was drawn to a video feature, linked within the article. It featured Riedel and Betty Buckley doing a sit-down interview and performance. That’s when I realized why his column is often more interesting to me than any other. He has embraced the wave of online video and provides top-notch webisodes.
Riedel’s videos are unique to the Post, unlike many other online newspapers that use borrowed footage from a local television news affiliate. It makes zero sense for me to watch local TV news clips online when I wouldn’t dare watch local news on my TV in the first place. So kudos to Riedel and his production crew for crafting enjoyable online video and bucking the trend of re-purposing clips that can be seen everywhere on the web. Now if only the Post could get these videos viewable on an iPhone.