How do you select reviewers?

Question: How do you pick the reporter to cover concerts? For example, the post-adolescent reporter who doesn't know the difference between Patsy Cline and Reba McEntire at the Clarkson/Aiken concert Friday? Would you at least send someone who knows something about music and can keep his ill-mannered remarks to himself?

Clay was not 100 percent dropping octaves but was charismatic, very entertaining, and his voice is amazing, even when it's not on. Oh, and his version of "When Doves Cry" was stylistic and wonderful. Either the editor who reviewed the story missed some editing or the reporter just doesn't know how to give an unbiased review. Either way, how do you choose your reporters? -- Tracy Reich

Answer: The Spokesman-Review employs both staff and correspondent reviewers for different sorts of arts events. Som Jordan, who reviewed the Clarkson/Aiken concert, is a full-time staff writer who regularly reviews popular music concerts. Reviewers are in the business of expressing their opinions. They are allowed to be biased if, by that, we mean they can criticize a performance.

Criticism is subjective. Some people will agree with a reviewer. Some won't. The writer liked Aiken's version of "When Doves Cry." The reviewer didn't. Reviews acknowledge the fact of a performance and provide one person's perspective on the quality of that performance against which attendees can measure their own opinions. And as people become familiar with a reivewer -- and Jordan has been around a long time -- they can begin to judge the reviewer's point of view in relation to their own. -- Steve Smith, editor

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