Jim DeRogatis, co-host of Chicago Public Radio’s nationally syndicated “Sound Opinions”and one of America’s premier authorities on everything that rocks, resigned Monday as pop music critic at the Sun-Times to join the faculty of Columbia College Chicago and become a blogger for Vocalo.org.
Love him or hate him, DeRogatis could make an impact in ways that many other music critics haven’t quite been able to do. His exit from the Sun-Times can be viewed as one of many signs of the changing of the old guard. In his post at the Sun-Times, DeRogatis represented something of a dying breed: A newspaper critic with enough gusto to provide an audience for the Sun-Times. In essence, a marquee critic. While there are many great music writer and music critics, the number of critics who’s name can provide a draw is small, and with DeRogatis leaving the Sun-Times it’s shrinking even more.
With his new position at Columbia College and Vocalo, DeRogatis is in a pretty good spot. But what message does this send to aspiring music critics and writers around the country? Are daily newspapers no longer a viable career option for prospective journalists looking to establish an individual brand? Are Vocalo-style websites a way for upstarts to break into journalism, or are they fast becoming a nice part-time gig for seasoned journalists looking to get a break from the rough and tumble existence at a daily newspaper? I for one will be interested to see how the Derogatis-Vocalo match works out, and just what those professor evaulations at Columbia College will say once DeRogatis begins teaching.
DeRogatis at last year’s Lollapalooza:
An angry phone call from Ryan Adams to Jim DeRogatis: