Commentary from former Star visual arts writer Skip Berry

Dateline: Wed 07 Jan 2009

Skip Berry, a longtime contributor to intelligent writing about the arts scene in central Indiana and beyond, once worked a couple days a week at the Indianapolis Star. His beat was visual arts, and his thoughtful analysis did wonders to advance public interest in art and showcase talent.

Like countless others in features, he left after Gannett started ruining those once-proud sections with a wearying emphasis on "news you can use" and the "short takes" forumla.

Today he offers his thoughts on the new feature section, called Extra -- a shadow of its former self, that debuted Monday.

"Well, after all those years of joking about the fact that we were just writing fillers to insert in the gaps between ads, the Star's features writers are now literally seeing their stuff interspersed among the classifieds!

"Short of simply printing out their articles and sticking them on toilet paper rollers in public restrooms, I'm not sure how much less respect the powers-that-be could display towards the features staff. Thank god I didn't stick around for this."

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