Rotten Tomatoes Partners to Launch LGBTQ Scholarship

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics and content recommendation resource Rotten Tomatoes have launched The Crimson Honors scholarship.

It’s a new college film and TV criticism scholarship program for LGBTQ women and nonbinary students of color in Southern California pursuing a career in journalism or entertainment criticism.

GALECA will award more than $6,000 in financial assistance, funded by Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Crimson Honors scholarship is open to qualifying community or state college students in the Southern California area who are seeking a career in entertainment criticism. A select panel of GALECA members will review and consider all student submissions of film/TV criticism and/or commentary featured in a campus media outlet in 2022, ultimately honoring three students who demonstrate excellence in their craft.

The grand prize winner will receive $3,000, with two finalists each collecting $1,500. All three winners will also receive $100 Fandango and Vudu gift cards to watch movies in theaters or at home, and a complimentary yearlong GALECA membership, with opportunities to meet editors and Advisory Board members in the group.

Rotten Tomatoes’ support of GALECA’s Crimson Honors scholarship is the latest initiative in the brand’s Grants and Scholarships program, established in 2018 to increase inclusion in entertainment criticism and support the next generation of critics through donations to educational programs, film festivals’ inclusion initiatives, and other industry efforts. 

Eligible candidates — including nonbinary persons or women of color who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or queer — must be students studying journalism, cinema/TV studies or communications at a public two-year community or four-year state college in the Southern California area.

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Applicants may submit to GALECA up to three reviews or essays relating to film and/or TV, each originally published or posted in 2022 by an official campus media offering (newspaper, magazine, website, radio station, podcast, TV/radio program). In addition, applicants must also include a resume as well as a personal 300-word statement on why they hope for a career as a critic and entertainment journalist. 

Applicants can submit all materials here. Materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 31, 2022. All entrants will be notified that their submissions were received with winners being announced on Feb. 27, 2023.  Criteria and rules for the Crimson Honors scholarship can be found here.  

Rotten Tomatoes Launches ‘RT Labs’ Educational Resource for Critics

Rotten Tomatoes has launched “RT Labs,” an online educational resource program designed to support aspiring and up-and-coming entertainment critics in their career development.

The program will feature recorded panel discussions and classes with industry experts that will be rolled out on a quarterly basis and focus on “engaging conversations and actionable guidance,” according to the service. The “RT Labs” video content will be published on Rotten Tomatoes and accessible under the “Critics” tab.

Launching Aug. 24 is the introductory installment of “RT Labs: Critics Edition,” the first in a two-part video series focusing on the ins and outs of self-publishing. Moderator Sharronda Williams, producer and host of the YouTube channel “Pay or Wait,” and panelists Erik Anderson (AwardsWatch), Robert Daniels (freelance critic), Li Lai (Mediaversity) and Kristen Lopez (IndieWire) review industry-best practices and cover elements including branding, platform management and budget, editorial oversight and more. The follow-up panel will address topics such as networking, hiring contributors and transitioning from self-publishing to freelancing, among others.

“At Rotten Tomatoes, we remain committed to amplifying diverse voices and supporting the next generation of journalists as they look to evolve and innovate the field of entertainment criticism,” Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes’ head of critic relations, said in a statement. “We are excited to launch ‘RT Labs’ and help aspiring critics gain valuable guidance and tools from some of the best minds in our industry.”

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“RT Labs” continues to build on Rotten Tomatoes’ mission to broaden and diversify the critics pool whose movie and TV reviews are reflected in the site’s Tomatometer scores, according to the service.

“Rotten Tomatoes began this quest in earnest in August 2018, when it revamped the Tomatometer critics criteria with an increased focus on critics’ individual qualifications, allowing for more freelance critics and those publishing on newer media platforms to be Tomatometer-approved,” according to a press release. “Since 2018, Rotten Tomatoes has added more than 900 critics to the Tomatometer. Over the past year, nearly 100 new critics have been added, an estimated 70% of whom are from underrepresented groups; 25% are people of color; 51% are women; 72% are freelancers; and 26% publish on newer media platforms.

In December 2020, Rotten Tomatoes revamped its Top Critics program, a designation for Tomatometer-approved critics. Of the 170 new Top Critics individually designated since that revamp, 60% are women, an estimated 25% are people of color and 24% publish via video and podcast media.

To help ensure that the next generation of entertainment critics is more inclusive, Rotten Tomatoes has renewed its donation to the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival Media Inclusion Initiative, which awards critics from underrepresented groups with stipends to enhance their Festival experience. Since 2018, Rotten Tomatoes has donated more than $250,000 to film festival press inclusion programs and university and junior college-level scholarships, helping support aspiring critics from underrepresented groups achieve their academic and professional goals. Rotten Tomatoes also hosts various workshops, panels and networking events for critics to gain access to editors, studio publicity and marketing executives and festival organizers at key industry events.