In my opinion, it is just another mark against those people over 40. I mean, when you hit 40, you are not dead or senile. Read onâ€¦â€¦
"If it's too loud, you're too old," the old rock 'n' roll saying goes â€??? but Larry Nager says it wasn't high decibels that got him fired from The Cincinnati Enquirer.
For eight years, until recently, Nager served as the Enquirer's music critic, bringing to the job a thorough knowledge of blues, rock, R&B, and bluegrass, among other genres. He won several awards for his reporting, and created and produced the paper's Pop Music Awards (the Cammys), an annual event that honors/features local musicians and raises thousands of dollars for music scholarships.
Yet the Enquirer fired Nager on Jan. 9, claiming that he was not aggressive enough in his reporting. But he feels there was a different reason. "My 50th birthday was my expiration date," Nager says, claiming his firing was pure ageism on the newspaper's part. "I have a reputation as a good reporter. To say all of a sudden that I can't do this job, is outrageous. ... I was railroaded."
Nager is now suing the Enquirer, saying he was forced out because of his age, his gender and in retaliation for protesting the reassignment of longtime TV/radio critic John Kiesewetter to a suburban news beat. In his lawsuit, Nager asks for his job back, and compensatory/punitive damages.
Asked to respond to Nager's allegations, Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan said he was unable to comment, due to legal reasons.
Time will tell if Nager is reinstated at the Enquirer, but his case raises several questions. For one, at what time should aging newspaper music critics hang it up? And are too many newspapers going overboard in "skewing young" these days?
One critic for a daily paper who spoke with E&P referred to the "ethnic cleansing of senior people" in newspaper arts sections, while another simply said, "We definitely face demographic pressures here."