'Chronicle's Biases Loses Readers

RECEIVED Mon., July 17, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Over the weekend, a friend brought a published reader's comment about your coverage of the Back Room closing to my attention [“Postmarks,” July 14]. After reading the letter, I decided to add a few comments of my own:
    1) Freedom of the press is a right retained by those who own the press. Therefore the Chronicle is not required to cover what happens to the Back Room or any other Austin music venue.
    2) The Austin Chronicle is primarily regarded by readers as an arts and entertainment paper. So, by barely mentioning the closing of a venue such as the Back Room, your paper places its credibility as an authoritative source of Austin music news in doubt.
    3) For years, The Austin Chronicle has generally ignored (heavy, extreme, etc.) metal. Consequently, the Chronicle lacks credibility with metal fans, and there are at least a half-dozen metal-oriented music papers available in Austin which command greater respect and interest than the Chronicle among thousands of music fans.
    I think losing the Back Room as a music venue is a big entertainment-news item, and the loss will have a major (negative) short-term impact on Austin's music scene.
    For as long as I've lived in Austin, the Back Room has been the main venue for hard rock, heavy metal, and other extreme music. Austin has scores of places that feature live music, but for myriad reasons, the Back Room was the only place that was consistently interested in featuring heavy metal or similar music genres. I hope at least one Austin venue decides to become a heavy/extreme metal replacement site.
    The Chronicle may elect to ignore heavy/extreme metal music and continue focusing on emo, pop, folk, and similar genres. But you risk following America's daily newspapers into oblivion and irrelevancy (consider: hardly anyone under 40 even reads the Austin American-Statesman these days).
    It's your choice. Freedom of the press guarantees you can print what you want, but it can't guarantee readership.
Brian Lynch
   [Music Editor Raoul Hernandez replies: Sorry, the lead item on the Music news page "TCB" (June 30) hardly qualifies as "barely a mention."]
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