The program is part of an ongoing effort by Rotten Tomatoes to stimulate underrepresented critics.
Rotten Tomatoes launched a new online educational program on Tuesday designed to support aspiring and aspiring entertainment critics in their career development. The program, RT Labs, will feature recorded panel discussions and classes with industry experts deployed on a quarterly basis by the Film Review Aggregator.
The first installment of “RT Labs: Critics Edition”, the first in a two-part series focusing on the ins and outs of self-publishing, will launch on Tuesday. It features moderator Sharronda Williams, producer and host of the YouTube channel “Pay or Wait”, and panelists Erik Anderson (AwardsWatch), Robert Daniels (independent reviewer), Li Lai (Mediaversity) and Kristen Lopez of IndieWire. In it, the group reviews industry best practices and covers branding, platform management and budget, editorial oversight, and more. The follow-up panel will discuss networking, hiring contributors and transitioning from self-publishing to freelance.
“At Rotten Tomatoes, we remain committed to amplifying diverse voices and supporting the next generation of journalists as they seek to evolve and innovate in the realm of entertainment criticism,” said Jenny Jediny, Head of Critical Relations by Rotten Tomatoes, in an official statement. “We’re excited to launch ‘RT Labs’ and help aspiring critics get valuable advice and tools from some of the best minds in our industry. “
Executives at Rotten Tomatoes say the program is part of a larger mission to diversify the pool of critics whose reviews are aggregated as part of the site’s Tomatometer scores. It’s an effort that began in 2018, when the site overhauled its criteria to endorse more independent reviewers and on newer platforms.
The effort resulted in over 900 reviews added to the Tomatoemeter since 2018; in the past year 100 have been added, of which 70% are from under-represented groups: 26% are people of color, 52% are women, 73% are freelancers and 27% post on more platforms recent.
In December, the site revamped its Top Critics program, which historically included reviews of major publications. Top Critic Reviews are tagged on a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes page and contribute to a separate “Top Reviewer” score. The program was revived with a greater emphasis on individual qualifications, the body of work, and the critics’ dedication to the art of criticism, rather than basing the designation solely on the status of their publication, opening up the way for self-publishing and critics who post on the newest platforms to be part of this group.
Of the 170 new, individually nominated Top Critics since the relaunch, 60% are women, around 25% are people of color, and 24% post via videos or podcasts.
Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes announced on Tuesday that it has renewed its donation to the Toronto International Film Festival’s Medical Inclusion Initiative. TIFF awards scholarships to under-represented critics from under-represented groups to enhance their festival experience. Rotten Tomatoes has donated over $ 250,000 to film festival inclusion programs and university and college scholarships since 2018.