Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.
Roger brought people together through communication and technology, encouraging a curiosity about life and movies that resulted in a worldwide community of humanity. His compassion was the heart and soul of his reaching out to others along with his core conviction that we are all in this together so we’d better make the best of it. Sprinkled throughout was much humor as he never believed in taking himself too seriously. And of course, a passion for the movies. His passion resulted in RogerEbert.com, this website about movies and life.
Just before Roger passed away he announced the formation of Ebert Digital LLC, the independent company that now owns RogerEbert.com. We were in the process of putting some new changes in place, including naming someone to help curate content for the site since his health dictated that he take a leave of presence.
Please help me welcome the new Editor-in-chief for Rogerebert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz. What Roger and I found refreshing about Matt is his ability to spot and encourage talent in other journalists, critics and video essayists. He mentored them with a benevolent style that helped to bring out the best in what they did. Sound like someone we know? Roger and I watched over the years as Matt founded, edited and operated The House Next Door, which is now part of Slant Magazine, and Press Play, a film and tv blog that spotlighted video essays at IndieWire. Matt’s motivated and entrepreneurial spirit is something we admired and wanted to bring to RogerEbert.com. Today we welcome him.
Matt ‘s complete bio is contained in our Contributor’s Bio, and there are also other biographical details in the press release we are posting today. You will learn that he is a TV and film critic who also writes for New York Magazine and Vulture.com. He acted as interim section editor for Time Out New York, assuming some of the same editing duties he will bring to this site. He has already gone through what I call his “baptism by fire,” for having the audacity to have an opinion about a movie that was contrary to what the majority of other critics opined. See his review of “After Earth,” and the comments that follow.
Although I don’t agree with his review, I defend his right to his opinion and welcome civil discourse about it. I also applaud his writing and his ability to stand his ground. That is the Ebert way. He has shown that he doesn’t have a thin skin. As a critic and editor, if you are going to dish it out, you have to be able to take it. And he can. Roger would have been proud of him, and so am I.
You will be inspired by Matt’s first post. He tells you many things about his background and career. He leaves links so that you can read some of his previous writing about movies and other topics. He also talks about his plans for keeping this site current. What he doesn’t tell you and what Roger and I also found inspirational about Matt is his ability to nurture and raise two children after the death of his wife. It is this strength and ability that helped him develop even more compassion for others and to want to leave something lasting in this world. Yes, he can be witty and he can also be snappy, but there is a rationality to this, and he doesn’t engage in snark for snark’s sake. This, as much as his other stellar qualifications are why I am happy to bring him into the Ebert Digital fold.
This site will continue to be a repository for Roger’s forty-six years of work, both in print and on television. We will add video segments, and podcasts, and all kinds of new sections that will take advantage of the rich body of work Roger left behind. But I am also looking to Matt to help bring in new voices, and new features and keep you updated on what is happening in the world of culture and entertainment. He is raring to go. I invite you to go on this journey with him.
Josh Golden and I are also pleased to announce our new Advisory Board consisting of Brad Keywell, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Groupon and other technology companies; Janelle Brittain, a corporate consultant, coach, speaker and entrepreneurial author and founder of the Dynamic Performance Institute; and author and journalist Frank Sennett, the former President and Editor-in-Chief of Time Out Chicago who stepped down after shepherding the company’s sale. They each bring special skills and experience to Ebert Digital to help us continue our growth while honoring the legacy of Roger. So stay tuned.
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