As impressive as her background was (covering classical music for the Wall Street Journal for a decade and a seven-year stint at The New York Times), Midgette’s work reached a peak in 2008, when she became a music critic for The Washington Post. Her Classical Beat column is the best kind of blog, where she provides musings that are thought-provoking and open-ended enough to start conversations (and arguments). At her best, she explores angles of the music world that we take for granted, including the problem of categorizing music, writers’ own biases, why we need holiday music, pandering to audiences, and putting artists on pedestals. Midgette knows that we need to think more deeply about these things and keeps challenging her readers to do so.
How could we not include here the co-editor of Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop and Rap? Among the other notable achievements, McDonnell was the first woman to be music editor of the Village Voice, the author of Mamarama: A Memoir of Sex, Kids and Rock’n’roll (great title), and co-author of an award-winning expose for the Miami Herald, “Police Secretly Watching Hip-Hop Artists.” After six distinguished years at the Herald, she’s moved on to other sunnier climes out west, writing mostly for the Los Angeles Times and shaping young minds as an Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media at Loyola. You can find out more about her at her website.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody
A self-described “music writer on the go” (which is also cool, especially since she fills her Celeb Clutter blog with her own photos), Moody is not only the music editor for the Associated Press but also one of its foremost reporters, securing interviews with assorted A-list single-name artists as well as industry stories, news, and topical pieces. When award shows like the Grammys and MTV need a lead writer, they speed dial her. Her expertise is also called on by writers’ haven Poytner Institute (where she’s taught), cable TV (including VH1), and the National Association of Black Journalists, where she’s organized several panel conventions.