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How to Think and Write Like a Critic

Learn with Leading Critics of The New York Times

Recommended by Teachable

$

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FREE

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$

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  • Learn the steps in writing an article review
  • Understand the process behind a professional review
  • Learn the basic tenets of a review
  • Learn how to give a review that opens up your readers’ thoughts and responses
  • Know what kind of research goes into a review
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Price:

$

95

FREE

$

0

Teachable Best Price Guarantee™

If you find it cheaper anywhere else, we'll refund you the difference.

Your Outcome

About this course

Writing criticism is no easy task. There is much research, training and life experience that goes into composing an insightful review. This course gives you an insider approach in thinking about and writing a review, whether it be a performance, film or art show, and for print or digital.

Learn from top New York Times critics as they share personal stories that reveal their processes, approaches and best practices behind their reviews. Learn a new and fresh perspective on how to be critical, a skill that can propel you in both your personal and professional life.


Instructors

Roberta Smith, Co-Chief Art Critic for The New York Times
Jon Pareles, Chief Pop Music Critic for The New York Times
Ben Brantley, Chief Theater Critic for The New York Times
A. O. Scott, Chief Film Critic for The New York Times
Mike Hale, Television Critic for The New York Times
Myra Forsberg, Former Deputy Culture Editor of The New York Times


This course is designed for:


  • media writers who want to compose an insightful article review
  • people in the arts who want to know how critics review their work
  • journalists looking to apply their skills in the field of criticism
  • digital freelancers who write reviews for online formats
  • anyone who is interested in becoming a critic or writing an insightful, critical piece

In this course, you will:

  • Learn the steps in writing an article review
  • Understand the process behind a professional review
  • Learn the basic tenets of a review
  • Learn how to give a review that opens up your readers’ thoughts and responses
  • Know what kind of research goes into a review
  • Understand how to structure a review and write a critical statement
  • Be able to discuss the overarching framework of criticism and the role it plays in media

Each critic provides exercises to help you hone your skills as a critic, as well as reading and resources you can turn to for inspiration and further insight.

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Course Curriculum

Welcome to the Course

  •  Course Overview (1:41)
  •  Special Offer: Live Stream Free Pass

The Role of Editor and Critic

  •  What It Is Like to Be an Editor (2:25)
  •  Inside the Mysterious Process of Criticism (1:28)
  •  The Relationship Between Editor and Critic (8:03)
  •  Structure of a Review
  •  Exercise (0:21)

The Critics of The New York Times

  •  The Making of a Critic (4:44)
  •  Path to The New York Times (8:15)
  •  Qualities of a Good Critic (7:17)
  •  What Defines a Times Critic (7:24)
  •  Thrills of Being a Critic (3:23)
  •  Drawbacks of Being a Critic (3:19)
  •  How to Enjoy Art Even as a Critic (3:37)

The Process of Criticism

  •  Aren't We All Critics? (3:43)
  •  In the Face of a Negative Review (6:10)
  •  How to Stay Fresh as a Critic (8:46)
  •  Inside Roberta Smith's Process (4:43)
  •  Inside Mike Hale's Process (5:13)
  •  Inside Ben Brantley's Process (2:15)
  •  Inside A.O. Scott's Process (8:02)
  •  Inside Jon Pareles's Process (4:28)

Reviews and Beyond With Jon Pareles, Chief Pop Music Critic

  •  Case Study — Coldplay (4:44)
  •  How to Make a Big Critical Statement (1:57)
  •  How Reviews Are Different From Standard Reporting (1:03)
  •  How to Offer Both Close-Up Observations and Broad Ideas (5:18)
  •  How to Hold Your Own Writing to the Highest Standards (3:36)
  •  Essential Skills for a Music Critic (2:57)
  •  Exercise (2:52)
  •  Music Critic Writing Template
  •  Reading | Resources

Big Questions About Criticism With A.O. Scott, Chief Film Critic

  •  Case Study — "Inside Out" (7:07)
  •  How Do You Judge and Compare Works of Art (2:25)
  •  Does Criticism Matter at All? (1:33)
  •  Criticism Is a Creative Act (2:27)
  •  Don't Be Afraid to Be Wrong (1:43)
  •  Writing for Print, Web and Television (3:16)
  •  Exercise (0:45)
  •  Film Critic Writing Template
  •  Reading | Resources

Time Management and What Goes Into the Critical Enterprise With Mike Hale, Television Critic

  •  Case Study — "Marvel's Jessica Jones" (10:31)
  •  What Kind of Training Is Necessary for a Television Critic? (3:14)
  •  How Important Is It to Know or Interact With the Artists in Your Field? (1:13)
  •  The Role of Research and Covering Different Types of Television (5:24)
  •  What Goes Into Reviewing a Long-Running Series Finale? (1:49)
  •  Exercise (0:30)
  •  TV Critic Writing Template
  •  Reading | Resources

How to Write a Tough But Respectful Review With Ben Brantley, Chief Theater Critic

  •  Case Study — "Hamilton" (2:05)
  •  How to Balance Your Emotional Experience (1:49)
  •  Put It in a Broader Context (1:01)
  •  Find Something to Praise in Everything (2:21)
  •  How to Deal with Celebrities on Broadway (1:52)
  •  Exercise (0:33)
  •  Theater Critic Writing Template
  •  Reading | Resources

Cultivate Your Inner Critic With Roberta Smith, Co-Chief Art Critic

  •  Case Study — MoMA's "Picasso Sculpture" (3:16)
  •  How We Are All Critics (1:59)
  •  Cultivating Your Inner Critic (1:24)
  •  Your Main Job as a Critic (1:18)
  •  How to Review Big Shows (1:37)
  •  Exercise (1:05)
  •  Arts Critic Writing Template
  •  Reading | Resources

Wrap Up

  •  Advice to Aspiring Editors and Critics (7:25)
  •  Course Survey
  •  Certificate of Completion


Your Instructor

The School of The New York Times

The School of The New York Times is a place for students to explore their passions while meeting and networking with like-minded people.

The school offers educational programming for professional and pre-college audiences, offering classes on writing, editing and content marketing as well as courses that explore the most important issues facing the world today, such as politics, business, culture, science and innovation.

Frequently asked questions

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