True Judge versus New Judge: The Role of the Reviewer in the Twitter Age

When:20 Sep 2011, 6pm - 7:30pm
Venue:Foyer, The New Law School Building, The University of Sydney
Who:A panel

Panel Debate ‘True Judge versus New Judge: The Role of the Reviewer in the Age of Twitter’

Sydney Ideas, The University of Sydney’s premier public lecture series co-presented with the Department of Media and Communications, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney

With the emergence of the internet, apps, Facebook, Twitter and whatever bit comes next, the critic is under attack.

In the new media landscape, there has been a proliferation of platforms. The ensuing democratisation of opinion ensures that all pronouncements are regarded as equal, or at least equal-ish. Now that any punter with an ISP is good to go, no one commentator’s opinion counts for more than anyone else’s. Hence we are witnessing a radical overhaul of both the way reviewing is conducted, and the way reviewing is received.

In the past, a critic chosen for ability and expertise would see his or her standing grow according to their work. With time, a talented critic would become recognised as an authority, in part thanks to the backing of an established media platform such as a newspaper or TV network. This is the David Stratton model, harking back to the "true judges" of David Hume.

More recently, with new media platforms multiplying the number of voices, anyone with an opinion can start disseminating it wildly and widely. If they cover the right ground and hit the right notes, they can become hugely popular, regardless of expertise or insight. This is the Perez Hilton model, harking back to a long list of under-informed hecklers.

Have Hume’s true judges, those unimpeachable arbiters of quality, been vanquished by an army of upstart arbiters? Or were the true judges a con all along? What are the pros and cons of the Stratton and Hilton models? Which model is more open to corruption and undue influence? Which is more likely to chime with consumers’ opinions? And which is more likely to stand the test of time?

In short, what is the future of criticism?

Panelists include:

  • Ronan McDonald
  • Stephanie Bendixsen
  • James Bradley
  • Sacha Molitorisz
  • Bernard Zuel
  • Sue Turnbull (moderator)

Further information and event video available at the Sydney Ideas event page 

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