The Gray Lady. The New York Times. On a day when the Times is the talk of the town and illustration is as well, here’s a bit of under-reported news. Important and worthy of discussion among us.
The news the New York Times doesn’t deem fit to print is their decision to slash their art budget by 30%, effective immediately. This means that from now on illustration will be done for the paper at next to no pay. Bad times in the biz are reflected in other ways too–the photo budget is being cut and there is a hiring freeze as well. Kelly Doe, Science Times art director, has been making anguished phone calls to artists to tell them the news. Does the Times feel it can replace us with stock photos? ‘The gray lady’ will get even greyer. How smart is it to try to attract and keep readers in the internet age with a product that relies on organizing information in a strong visual package by cutting off access to a key option for powerful visual communication? Will the paper start looking like the web: a sea of indistinguishable choices? I do not believe this will stand. I believe that Pinch and Co. will feel how sad an affair the Times will be without art. But until then we will feel this. To survive we will have to be even more resourceful than ever. Please comment: I’m interested in your take on how, as an industry, we can make our voice heard about this.
By the way, what was that annual art budget compared to that mega-million dollar architectural masterpiece they built on 8th Avenue (which now seems like a huge tombstone)?