Commentary Track: Is Anyone Safe When Variety Fires Anne Thompson?

Thompson on Hollywood

For many film journalists, today was a return to normalcy. Most film journalists, much like our own intrepid editor Neil Miller, braved the parties, open bars and blogger fights to give us our amazing Sundance coverage. Today though would be sure to bring back the cruel reality of the daily work grind. For Anne Thompson though, today was the day she would be dismissed from Variety.

Anne Thompson was the Deputy Editor of Variety.com. She has been involved in a number of prestigious publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Observer. She has contributed for a couple other publications that have historically not been so kind to the online community – The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She found a place in my heart though, with her blog Thompson on Hollywood. It was her willingness to embrace the future of journalism that has earned her so much respect in the internet realm.

She has had a great impact on the journalism community, not just by showing some of us the way but also showing some of the old school dogs some new tricks. When most big outlets fail to mention online outlets, Thompson goes out of her way to make sure the little guys are known. She gives notice to the online outlets, and pays respect on a regular basis. That is more than you can say for most other “legitimate journalists.” She is the bridge between the old way and the new way. Thompson’s ever-growing legacy will be validated by her professionalism, insight and voice in the community. This has already become enough of a love letter though, I digress.

What is to fear though, is the impact that this has for the future. What does it mean that one of the most insightful figures in the film community is silenced by the largest publication in said community? By removing someone who is a champion of online journalism, does it signal the end for Variety‘s gamble on the internet? Can we expect a faux-Thompson in exchange? Does this mean that Variety holds no stock in the internet? Or is this simply just a casualty of the economy?

This argument is not completely in vain though, because as Thompson has stated on her own blog that Thompson on Hollywood will continue to be. Said no better than the woman herself,

“What will continue is the Thompson on Hollywood blog. Variety and I are in talks about continuing to host the blog, but I am also fielding other interest.”

Though she is not gone forever, her absense from the ranks of Variety is both frustrating and frightening for someone in the film journalism community. Not that I would ever put myself in the same ranks as Anne Thompson, but she is someone whom I have come to respect and admire greatly. Enough with my psuedo-love letter, but I’d seriously love to sit in on one of her classes. I will be looking forward to what she still has in store, because as she said “Stay tuned. The blog isn’t going anywhere”