My friend Scott McLemee, the “Intellectual Affairs” columnist over at insidehighered.com and his own blog, Quick Study has found a bit of good news amid all of the grim decline in newspaper book reviewing: The Austin American-Statesman, of all people, has launched a column about university presses. I write “of all people” because, although the Statesman is in a college town, the Cox Newspaper chain is not known for its shining highbrow endeavors.
This is remarkable news. University presses produce some of the best work around but they also produce books for highly specialized audiences, so they’re usually ignored by mainstream media. Scott found Roger Gathman’s inaugural “Academic Presses” column striking for its thoughtfulness and engagement — considering the limitations of a daily paper.
But to put all of this in sobering perspective: The column will appear once a month.