Like I have written in a previous post, the working life of a music critic is not a glamorous one. I haven't met a writer who is making a six-figured salary as a music reporter/critic. When you chose to be a music journalist, you do it for the love of music and to write about your most recent music experience.
Much like veteran music critic Larry Nager -- a 50-year-old, eight-year reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer -- who loved to write about the vibrant music community nestled in his beloved city, Cincinnati. "Cincinnati has been a hugely musical town and it's almost never been recognized,'' he told writer Lew Moores in the Cincinnati CityBeat newspaper. "We're a black and white city, we're an urban and rural city, we're a northern and southern city, and we've got this wild mélange of music."
But on Jan. 9, Larry was told that his services as a music reporter were no longer needed -- The Enquirer fired him.
Larry believes he was terminated because he was too old and not female. Following his dismissal at the newspaper, Larry filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that he was the victim of age and gender discrimination. He's seeking unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages, and he wants his job back. "Mr. Nager believes that The Enquirer is making a concerted effort to replace older reporters and columnists with younger, mostly female, writers, in order to accomplish its stated goal of capturing a younger, female audience,'' says Nager's lawyer Sheila Smith.
Enquirer editor Tom Callinan has no comment on the matter. However, he did admit that the newspaper is actively seeking female reporters. "I don't know that's necessarily a bad thing," he says. "I don't think we're trying to change the makeup of the staff at the expense of any one gender or age group. I think we're trying to make sure our staff reflects the diversity of our community.''
This is the first time Nager has been unemployed as a music critic in 20 years.
"This is devastating, this is unimaginable to me,'' he says. "I'm completely devastated professionally, financially. Emotionally, this has been a nightmare."