When Ms. Channing, who died on Tuesday at 97, first appeared in the part with which she would forever be identified, I was only 9 years old and living in Winston-Salem, N.C.
But as a boy in thrall to all things New York, and especially all things Broadway, I monitored whatever was happening on its stages as closely as long distance allowed in the pre-internet age. My parents subscribed to The New Yorker, so that was a help, and I could go to the Wake Forest College library, just a bike ride away, and check out the arts pages of The Times.
Carol Channing first appeared as Dolly in 1964. At that time, a young musical theater fan had to bicycle to the library periodical room to read the New York Times.
In the post-internet age, good arts reporting might actually be more difficult to find. Newspapers are laying off arts critics and drastically shrinking arts coverage . It's easy enough to find celebrity gossip, but not so easy to find reviews, history or critiques. That's a real loss to the community, not only because there is no way for people to find out about arts events they might want to attend, but because there is no recorded history of the local arts community.
Here in Utah, Artists of Utah 15 Bytes and LoveDanceMore are examples of online publications that are trying to fill the niche for regional arts reporting. The arts reporting gap is also one that libraries could try to fill through community journalism.
One obvious way librarians could promote local artist is by writing and collecting book reviews for local authors. When the Portland Press Herald threatened to stop publishing book reviews a local author (Stephen King) launched a successful protest. King argued that the newspaper was taking away publicity that local writers depend on. As newspapers downsize, local arts is often replaced by generic news-wire stories about nationally famous authors or artists. Without regional arts reporters, people will probably still see reviews of Stephen King's books, but may never even learn about new books by people who write about their part of the world. These local books are essential to building a sense of place that is a foundation for resilient communities.
 Jed Gottlieb, "Curtains Fall on Arts Critics at newspapers," Columbia Journalism Review, January 6, 2017. "With their champions banished from papers, legitimate artistic endeavors start to recede from the mainstream consciousness in favor of fluffy celebrity-driven stories."