A blog is born

I’m here and I’m clearly passionate about continuing to cover local arts.

New platform. Newer Donald.

Welcome to The Munro Review, where I cover arts, culture and other interesting stuff in the central San Joaquin Valley. I spent the last 16 years covering local arts and culture for The Fresno Bee. Now I’m ready to take my passion for the arts to the next level.

Based on questions you’ve been asking, here’s a quick rundown to start things off:

Q: What do you plan to cover on The Munro Review?

A: I’m going to offer a curated look at the local scene with a special emphasis on theater, classical music, visual art, dance, the literary arts and anything else that strikes my fancy. I believe that advance stories about upcoming events are an important part of arts coverage because they give audience members added context in terms of relating to and connecting with artistic events. I’ll be continuing to offer a critical voice through reviews, and I will cover local arts news. I’ll throw in coverage of some of my own interests, too, including travel and books, and will likely be unleashing some Fresno-centric commentary from time to time. All this is in the early stages, but I’m excited about the possibilities ahead.

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Photo / Craig Kohlruss

Q: Will other writers be contributing?

A: Maybe! I’m starting off as a one-person show, but who knows what the future holds?

Q: What’s the timeline on this?

A: This first post kicks this new adventure off, along with a review of Fresno State’s production of “Heathers: The Musical.” I still have a lot of exploring in the months ahead in terms of technology and finances. I’ll be talking with lots of people and asking lots of questions, so don’t be surprised if I hit you up for your views.

Q: Have you thought about partnering with a non-profit arts institution or other umbrella organization? How about using Patreon.com, seeking donations or asking people to subscribe to a premium service.

A: You bet, to all four questions. That will be part of my research.

Q: Will The Fresno Bee continue to cover the local arts scene in any capacity?

A: I don’t know. The paper is in the midst of a corporate-mandated “Newsroom Reinvention” plan that emphasizes reaching large digital audiences. When I talked with management about what my new role would be under this new structure, I was told in no uncertain terms that arts coverage that attracts “small” numbers of readers online would be eliminated. (Print readership does not seem to matter these days in terms of metrics.) I was told I would not be able to offer regular coverage of local theater (advance stories or reviews) or other consistent coverage of the local arts scene. I was also told that it would be unlikely I would ever be able to even “slip in” such coverage because local arts coverage doesn’t have a high enough online readership. My commitment to arts journalism does not fit in with where The Bee is heading. A focus on the local arts with depth, breadth and substance is certainly locally and regionally “contagious,” but it will likely never be world wide “viral” — which appears to be the goal of much of the mass media. When I learned these parameters, I opted for a buyout leave. As The Bee seeks its own new direction, I have excellent former colleagues who I’m sure will do their best while juggling multiple beats and striving for large numbers of online clicks, but I don’t know what the coverage will be.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: I’ll be using social media as a way to let people know what’s going on at www.munroreview.com. A good way to keep in touch is to make sure you’ve added me on Facebook and then clicked “see first” under the dropdown “Following” menu in the header of my profile. Here are specific instructions from Facebook on how to do that. By specifically following me and clicking “see first,” you’ll get my new posts at the top of your feed each time you sign on rather than relying on those murky Facebook algorithms.) I’m also on Twitter (@DonaldMunroArts) and Snapchat (DonaldMunroArts). Instagram is in my near future.

Additionally, I’m asking for your subscription to my email newsletter. For people who don’t want to have to check their social media all the time, this will be another option to keep in touch. Or for those of you who would like a capsule of my coverage, a newsletter may be a better route for you. You can subscribe here:

https://tinyletter.com/donaldfresnoarts

If you’re an arts presenter, keep sending me those press releases and jpeg photos. I need that information to keep on top of things and keep the public informed. The only thing that has changed is my email address: donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com.

Above all, keep in touch. Send me an email or comment on the blog. I’m excited about our new adventure together. The central San Joaquin Valley arts deserve connection, sharing and valuing — and with you, I plan to continue amplifying our passions for the arts.

Author: Donald Munro

Covering the arts in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

28 thoughts on “A blog is born”

  1. Righteous!

    Theatre Ventoux and the Woodward Shakespeare Festival thank you for your continued commitment to the arts and to our community.

    Be seeing you.

  2. Thank you Donald for continuing to bring Fresno and the Valley the best possible communication mode to keep the Fine and Performing Arts alive in our community. I will do my part and what ever it takes to share your word and method of getting this information to those interested, supporting or need to be made aware of The Arts in Fresno. You have my support and gratitude.
    David Bonetto

  3. Awesome Donald! You are one classy guy!! So proud you will still be part of our community voice!!
    Best,
    Jay Center

  4. Congratulations on your new adventure, Donald. So glad to see you’re ongoing commitment to the arts of Fresno. I look forward to continue reading your opinions.

  5. I’m a long-distance Fresnan (central coast) but my heart is still in Fresno. A community can be measured by the quality and quantity of arts being created, and you have been a pivotal player in that scene. I think that you will be even better in your new platform(s). Sometimes institutions such as The Bee are clumsy in their transition to new ways of doing business, casting out riches in favor of glitter. Hurrah for the riches you bring to Fresno through your new publications.

  6. Yes!!! Thank you, Donald. I will support and subscribe and anything else I can to support you and your coverage!!

  7. Donald,
    I have always been a big fan of your fantastic writing and your indefatigable passion to illuminate the arts in the Central Valley and in your travels. As you begin this new avenue of opportunity I support and appreciate your efforts as you bring your uniquely talented voice to the Arts within this platform. May you enjoy much success and fulfillment as you begin this new venture.
    Kind Regards,
    Tomas Ovalle

  8. I am happy to hear that you are continuing your wonderful contribution to the arts here in Fresno. I would like to be able to read your blog and send some information to you. Please tell us how to do that. Gratefully, Janette Erickson, Principal Flutist, Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra.

  9. For all the grammar and spelling monitors out there, (or their?) I see I misspelled “your” on my previous comment. Totally an accident!

  10. Congratulations, Donald! It’s great you will still be serving the arts in the region. Best of luck.

  11. So…Facebook page liked, see first clicked, email list updated! Thank you, Donald, for all you have done and continue to do for arts and culture in the Valley. I’ll be a regular reader and help out any way I can.

  12. This is such good news! Your reviews of New Wrinkles have made such a difference to our ticket sales. Please keep up the good work.

  13. Donald, thank you for your thoughtful reporting at the Fresno Bee and for providing good reads and inspiration along with my morning coffee. Looking forward to following your blog and social media as you go ‘rogue’ with your sole/soul entrepreneurial approach to arts information sharing! Sincerely, Lori Clanton

  14. Shame on the Bee for treating the arts as second class…small town thinking. So glad you are committed to one of Fresno’s greatest assets the arts. I subscribed, sent friend request and will be spreading the word.

  15. Dearest Donald, When embarking our journey, I asked you, “Haven’t you ever had a Dream? “. Well, Here it is and I will support you in any manner, You are a jewel to all who are in the Arts and those who which to be informed about the Art scene. Much success and we will always be there for you. Thank you and BREAK A LEG !!!! ❤️

  16. Donald. As a cast member of New Wrinkles I have always appreciated you wholeheartedly support of our unique show and will miss your critiques in the Bee. But, it’s their loss more than it is for the Fresno community because of your decision to continue on your own. Please know that all of us in the New Wrinkles family will support you just as you have supported us for so many years. Let us know how we can help. Thank you, thank you!!

  17. Glad to see you doing your own online thing and keeping up the great local arts coverage. If I can ever lend any technical or social media help, don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, the copy editor in me wants you to know it’s “patreon” with an “a.”

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