I was disheartened once again to hear the news that another setback has besieged Roger Ebert recently. The man doesn't seem to catch a break. In light of these events, I hope I am not alone in wishing him a safe a speedy recovery! But that's not the only story about Ebert that should catch our attention. Many of his readers and film bloggers alike will likely be pleased to see that Roger has officially joined the blogging circle of film critics -- making him one of several professional (and respected) film critics to begin writing in this medium.
As a blogger, I see this as great news, because it signals a peak in the movement to digitize film criticism; to re-calibrate and re-position it in the changing environment of cinema and journalism. I don't know what he plans to write about, or in what capacity he will be able to write for his new blog (entitled Roger Ebert's Journal), but I will look forward to his forthcoming contribution to the film blogging circle. Given the circumstances of his recent medical ailments, the blog may enable him to write more freely and openly than in the more structured and constricting format of writing several film reviews a week. But no matter how he decides to play in this world, his voice will almost certainly deepen the ever-growing dialogue amongst cinephiles and bloggers, professional and non-professional alike. As Matt Zoller Seitz remarked several weeks ago, blogging may not represent "the future" of criticism, but it is a necessary and tangible next step in the continued evolution of criticism. No one knows what lies on the horizon for film criticism, and although the ranks of professional criticism are currently shaken up, the increasing relevance and prominence of film blogging reminds that there is reason to hope.
Welcome, Roger, and I do hope you make it to your essential "Ebertfest" film festival.