We, too, heart Shirley Johnson.
Shirley Priscilla Johnson, the Wonder Woman of online book reviews, half legend, all sweetheart. Shirley is a delight to the literary publicist community, albeit a little bit of a mystery (where does she find time to read all the books and review them...favorably?). We applaud her for her tireless efforts.
I thought of Shirley while reading the latest addition to the ongoing debate at GalleyCat (a la The Book Publicity Blog, and originating from former L.A. Times book review editor Steve Wasserman). If you haven't been following, here's a recap.
On PBS' NewsHour Monday, Wasserman offered his thoughts on the demise of print book review sections, questioning the legitimacy of the online book review world, which, suffice it to say, has seen a recent surge (did the term "mommy bloggers" even exist a year ago?). Wasserman had this to say:
"But what's lost here is the discriminatory filter provided by people who have embraced journalism as a craft. What has been lost here is the authority, such as it ever was, of newspaper people trying to do a job well done."Touché…but in a rapidly changing landscape where the lines have been blurred between traditional media and citizen journalism with blogs, internet radio and online reviewers, this has been up for debate since the invention of the World Wide Web.
According to GalleyCat's Ron Hogan, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and The New York Times are the country's only remaining newspapers to still run separate book review sections. The LAT buried the hatchet on their book review section in late July.