After 21 years of critiquing and reporting on architecture for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Linda Mack became one of about 70 journalists cut from the payroll in June through “voluntary buyouts.” Her departure reduces the nationwide total of full-time newspaper architecture writers to perhaps a dozen, according to András Szántó, the director emeritus of the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. “The situation has gotten tragic,” Szántó says, “especially since architecture is such a local art form. Readers can use the local perspective on it so much more than they need some local critic's review of the latest movie or HBO series.”

Mack penned some 1,600 articles while the Twin Cities underwent what she calls “an unbelievable cultural-arts boom—I got to cover Cesar Pelli's public library here, Jean Nouvel's Guthrie Theater, Herzog & de Meuron's Walker Art Center—I had a great run.” She plans to freelance for a variety of publications, she adds, “but nothing else has the reach of that newspaper. Even in its current state, it's a great venue.”

Avista Capital Partners, a New York investment firm, bought the Star Tribune for $530 million in December and has been trimming staff ever since. Claude Peck, the paper's fine arts editor, says that arts and metro reporters are now covering architecture “as best we can. We miss Linda tremendously. She has a strong but measured voice, with a great eye for the big and small, the way things knit together in the urban landscape.”

Local architects are already nostalgic for her writings, too. “There'll be a pretty massive void now in the dialogue here about new buildings, new designs, new challenges,” says Brian Tempas, head of the American Institute of Architects' Minneapolis chapter and a principal at the Cuningham Group. “Her coverage had just incredible breadth.”