One concerns responses to Message Board postings. I agree that there has been the appearance sometimes of "circling the wagons" and I think that's something that we have to be careful of. In mitigation, however, I think there's a greater tendency to appear defensive in response to a Message Board posting that is too sharply worded or is phrased as a personal attack, as happens from time to time, unfortunately. But if the feedback is constructive we should welcome it, I believe.
I think M A is probably right about the profile of our reviewers. I say "think" because I have only met a small number of my colleagues; the reviewers are widely scattered and so there are few opportunities to meet. But if as a group we fit broadly into the pattern that M A has identified I'm not entirely sure what we can do about this. The reviewers are volunteers and if people don't offer to write for us we have no chance of broadening the reviewer base.
I think it would be great if, for example, we had more female writers but we need people to offer to join us. I readily acknowledge that if there's a perception that reviewers fit a certain profile then people who feel they don't conform to that stereotype may be reluctant to put themselves forward as reviewers. But if it's true that there is a stereotype then there is only one way to change that.....
The main points that I was trying to get across in my article to which M A refers - and I agree; it wasn't the greatest title - are that you don't have to be a professional journalist or musician to write for MusicWeb and that through writing for us unexpected opportunities can open up.
I'm all for broadening the base of MusicWeb and I'm sure I'm not alone among my colleagues in thinking that. If we can get a more diverse team of reviewers we'll be able to cover an even wider range of music than we currently do and broaden our readership further.
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Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb