Career Case Studies: Alex Ross

New Yorker classical music critic Alex Ross as career case study for the youngsters: "Ross started writing freelance reviews for Fanfare, a classical music magazine, which paid him $2 for each review.... Eventually, Mr. Ross says, he got a piece in The New Republic.... [TNR literary editor Leon] Wieseltier helped Ross get hired by The New York Times in 1992 as a 24-year-old stringer, writing about classical music for the culture desk. He was paid $80 for each piece (and people complain about The Times' stinginess today!). 'Of course, I was only paying $675 a month in rent,' he said. While at The Times, Mr. Ross got his first piece in The New Yorker. 'Louis Menand and Adam Gopnik were culture editors at the time, and they had been reading my pieces in The Times,' he explained. 'I wrote one piece a year for four years'—including the obituary for Kurt Cobain, because the magazine didn't have a popular music critic on staff. He was hired as the magazine's classical music critic in 1996."

The Best Listener in America [NYO]