[members-announce] Letter from the editor of the Jazz Institute of Chicago website

Paul Baker paulb at webitects.com
Sun Jan 18 08:42:12 EST 2004

This month is the last issue of the JIC website that I will be editing.
Marj Pries is also departing as managing editor. 

When we started, seven years ago, the JIC Board felt that the web was
not very important. This was good in that it gave us a lot of editorial
freedom. But it was also bad, because it meant that we have received no
financial support for editorial staff, design, or to pay contributing
writers and photographers.

In those seven years, readership has increased from a few thousand
people to 25,000-35,000 per month. People keep coming back, I believe,
because most of the writing is by musicians-and a few serious fans-who
present perspectives very different from most jazz magazines and
newspaper reviews. 

It was difficult convincing musicians to write for the site. Many had
fundamental disagreements with the JIC, especially its programming
policies. On gigs or at jam sessions, I soon learned not to reveal my
relationship with the organization, or I would have to listen to lots of
gripes, none of which I could do anything about. In order to persuade
many of you to contribute articles and photographs, I agreed that you
would retain your own copyrights. 

Apparently, the Board recently changed their mind about the importance
of the website. We learned that they have commissioned someone else to
do a redesign and will take editorial control in-house. My understanding
is that they wish to position the website primarily as a marketing
vehicle for JIC-sponsored events. 

I don't know if they will continue to produce the sorts of historical
and journalistic material we've presented here. They told us that if
they wish to use existing content on the new site, they will contact
authors and photographers and ask them to sign release forms. 

Thank you for your unselfish efforts. The last seven years have been a
lot of work, but we've enjoyed corresponding with you, prying articles
and photos out of you, supporting the local jazz scene and, hopefully,
adding a bit to Chicago jazz history. 

Now I can get back to practicing my horn. 

The transition will happen February 1. 

-Paul Baker, Editor 

P.S. This issue we look back at some of the highlights from the last
seven years.



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