Freep Nixing In-House Film Critic Position

As print journalism continue to struggle, are in-house, full time movie critics at newspapers yesterday’s — for lack of a better word –news? The well-respected film critic Terry Lawson of the Gannett-owned Detroit Free Press, in a round of cost-cutting, has been offered a voluntary buyout of his contract. He will not be replaced. From Defamer:

” We called the Detroit Free Press this morning and learned from a (very confused) HR rep that ‘We are not planning on replacing [Terry Lawson] at this time.’ Very interesting. By our research, all of the other Top 20 newspapers in the United States have at least one major, well-known critic (yes, even the Arizona Republic). However, The Freep’s move clearly signals that there’s a changing tide in the amount of importance (and budget dollars) local newspapers allocate to coverage of the movie business.”

Is this the beginning of a sad trend?