How is Time reporting on the diversifying of Rotten Tomatoes?

In an effort to analyze how entertainment industry-specific topics were being reported by major news outlets that aren’t specific to the industry, I went on a search for articles about the recent decision by popular film review site Rotten Tomatoes to diversify its collection of contributing film critics. This is what I found, and what I’d like to analyze here today.

Movie-Critic Website Rotten Tomatoes Diversifies, Adding More Women Reviewers by Anousha Sakoui, for Time.

I’d like to start out by taking a look at the sources Sakoui used for this article. A total of three sources were used from what I can tell, and two of that number were directly quoted from interviews with female film critics on the topic. Primary sources are always the best kinds of sources – after all, what better way to hear information than directly from someone who has experienced it? Both of these women were recently added to Rotten Tomatoes’ list of contributing film critics after years of writing film criticism for independent outlets.

The other source cited in the article was the film aggregate site itself, Rotten Tomatoes. This source provided the article with important data figures on the diversity of the current and previous lineup of contributors, as well as statements of their intention to diversify even further in the future. This is also an important primary source, and lends legitimacy to the piece. Overall, the quality of the sources used is good.

However, one issue I saw in the article was the glaring lack of links and other web tools that the reader could use to verify the information provided by the sources, and verify the research. There should have been links to the independent outlets the two film critics write for, and links to the Rotten Tomatoes website. The reader has to just trust that the information given is correct because of a lack of tools to verify and research ourselves.

Another small failure by the journalist was the lack of investigating into the ethnic diversity efforts of Rotten Tomatoes. They found the fact that the website intends to diversify in that way important enough to mention, and one of the film critics interviewed made a special point to address it as well, but whereas the gender data was pretty thorough, the data in this aspect was sorely missed.

A comparative analysis between  Rotten Tomatoes and other film review and aggregate sites would have been welcome as well. It could have been interesting to see how they measure up in the industry, and find out whether they’re ahead of the curve in this area or behind. Rotten Tomatoes is pretty notorious for being a haven for mostly white men, and I would have liked to see if that comparison remains true now.

Other topics in the article were teasingly hinted at but not explored or expanded on at all, such as the efforts Rotten Tomatoes has recently made to prevent review bombing, as well as their efforts to support diverse independent and  freelance film critics by providing funds to send them to film festivals and screening events. Obviously the article cannot include every topic of interest, but the way these things were mentioned felt like speed bumps on the way. If you’re not going to report on it, why mention it?

Despite some minor complaints, overall I felt this article did a good job reporting the facts in a clear, concise way, without evidence of bias or persuasion or a lack of transparency. I’d give it a B+ – or, in Rotten Tomatoes language, I’d call it certified fresh.