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May 1, 2016
Don't kill the messenger

As Jonah Weiner of Slate Magazine notes, we've seen a sharp decrease in journalism dedicated to arts criticism, of the non-blogging variety. Mr. Weiner writes specifically about why music mags are fading from view, which, I sheepishly admit, I hadn't really noticed. Like many others, I let my subscriptions to Spin and Rolling Stone lapse, content to pay the stand price if I saw a particularly interesting story advertised on the front cover. The folding of Vibe and Blender are echoes of the larger state of arts journalism as a whole; musical, visual and otherwise. 

Which is why The National Arts Journalism Summit is so important.

On October 2, art writers from around the world will meet at UCLA to develop new and sustainable models of arts journalism. New business models and innovative practices will be presented and explained so that the writing community as a whole may review and consider implementing them. This is the first time that the Summit will meet and I have high hopes for the results. It gives me great pleasure to see those in the arts community banding together to keep a very necessary part of the art world - reflection and writing about current events and practices - alive. 

One of my very favorite writers, András Szántó, who until recently led the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, wrote an article for the Art Newspaper called, "With Newspapers in Terminal Decline, What Future for Arts Journalism?"

He very succinctly outlines some exciting options for the future of arts journalism and ends his incisive essay with this:

                Amid the gloom and doom about arts journalism, innovations offer a glimmer of hope.

                There is no going back to the cultural and advertising dominance that newspapers once

                enjoyed.  We should be mindful that the emerging landscape offers asymmetrical

                odds for art criticism (which can survive by the labour of individual writers) and

                arts reporting (which requires institutional firepower and protections).  Writers

                will struggle to reclaim the access and influence they achieved with the backing of

                prestigious journalism brands.  Even so, the faint outlines of a new system are starting

                to emerge.

While I will mourn the slow death of the printed word, I look forward to the future of the pixilated one. 


Posted by: Kelli Bodle @ Friday, September 18, 2009 9:39:05 am 
The popularity and dominance of Twitter and Facebook are a pretty good indicator of the quality and length of news messages to which the general public is now receptive. It's not that we're lazy, but that we want our news, analysis and critiques in shorter, more democratic bursts. There's even evidence that blogs are falling by the wayside in favor of social media. This is not to say that there is no room for lengthy, cerebral arts analysis and criticism of a more scholarly nature. I believe there always will be a demand for that important service. It will likely become a niche online market - ideally one for which arts writers will earn a fair wage.
Posted by: Tricia Woolfenden @ September 25, 2009 10:01:00 am

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