Newsweek Film Critic David Ansen Accepts Buyout
Mass cuts at the national news magazine add to recent tide of critic departures.
Radar first reported the mass buyouts at Newsweek, in which 111 employees of the magazine's news and business departments took the option of a generous severance package. Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company, a media conglomerate that also distributes Newsweek International, Slate, and the Washington Post newspaper. Ansen, who has been a critic at Newsweek for thirty-one years, is joined in the opt-out by fellow Arts writers David Gates and senior editor Cathleen McGuigan, among others.
Talking to Variety's Anne Thompson, Ansen explained his decision to go for the package:
"They didn't want me to leave, which put me in a nice bargaining position. They may have been shocked at how many people took the offer."
Thompson also learned that Ansen will keep reviewing films for Newsweek through 2008, after which he'll stay on for at least another year as a contracted contributing editor. Ansen notes the silver lining of his reduced capacity: not having to write about bad movies. From Thompson on Hollywood:
"Obviously the climate at newsmagazines is not great," said Ansen. "More cost-cutting, more trimming." Ansen looks forward to writing books, teaching, and "not going out to screenings every night," he said. "I want to watch DVDs of movies I might actually like and read a book or two. Face it, a lot of movies are not that interesting to write about these days."
Posting last week on Thompson's blog after the layoff of the Village Voice's Nathan Lee, Variety's Peter Debruge intimated that similar trouble is brewing at the Voice's sister publication, LA Weekly. It's clear that print media (and, as a result, print criticism) is flailing, but it would be a shame for the film community to lose its brightest and most respected voices as a result. Sound off below.
Read: David Ansen's RT Critic Page
Sources: Radar Online, Thompson on Hollywood