"Members overwhelmingly are not using our opera, dance or off-Broadway reviews," Associated Press theater writer Mark Kennedy tells Howard Sherman. So the news cooperative, Sherman writes, is eliminating such coverage.

In a statement, AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrara confirmed the end of those reviews, but says AP will "instead put our focus on news stories that emanate from those arts and may be of wider interest." The reviews, he said, are "done by staffers and others in their spare time."

About 90 percent of AP's customers, Ferrara said, "did not publish in any format off-Broadway, opera or dance reviews."

Sherman says the fact that AP coverage ends up on many member organizations' websites "without any human effort" can lead to more coverage for arts organizations trying to overcome public indifference: "Even when editors 'don't use' this coverage, it appears on their sites; in some cases, an AP item may prompt an outlet to do its own story on the same subject."

The decision, Sherman writes, "represents how, in an ever more challenging environment for the news industry, the arts are drawing the short stick."

In his statement, Ferrara said that "we remain one of the few outlets with full-time Broadway and book publishing reporters and we are in the process of replacing two film writers who recently resigned. To say we are not covering the arts is flawed."