Rotten Tomatoes has added more than 600 individually approved critics in the year since the online review aggregation site made an aggressive push to diversify the pool of reviewers contributing to the Tomatometer score.
The majority of the new class, or 55 percent, are women, while 60 percent are freelancers and 10 percent publish reviews on modern platforms, such as YouTube and podcasts. The company said it is also making meaningful progress in increasing the number of critics of color.
All told, there are now nearly 5,000 approved critics.
“There’s still lots to do, but we’ve learned a lot,” says Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company. He adds that the company is committing another $100,000 in grant money to support various industry initiatives fostering inclusion in criticism, such as covering travel to film festivals.
In August 2018, Rotten Tomatoes revamped the critics criteria for its popular Tomatometer movie and TV rating system with an increased focus on a person’s individual qualifications versus their affiliation with a publication.
A survey of the new critics revealed that most, or 73 percent, have seen an increase in their site traffic and social media followers. But obstacles remain, as 43 percent said they are still unable to secure invitations to press screenings and 61 percent said film festivals remain cost-prohibitive.
“We invite our industry colleagues to join us in our effort to create more opportunities for journalists, especially those from underrepresented groups,” says Jenny Jediny, senior manager for critics relations at Rotten Tomatoes.