A Possible Precedent?
A lot of people out there are seeking, like Diogenes, for viable business models for journalistic ventures being squeezed by the crisis in print journalism. An article today in the New York Times (the PRINT edition, page B3) offers one possible wrinkle on the nonprofit model. The article reports that the Associated Press has agreed to distribute articles by four nonprofit groups devoted to investigative reporting.
The precedent goes like this: If a similar foundation or patron decided to foster arts journalism, the A.P. might be another way to get the results out to the public. Naturally, questions need to be asked: A.P. distriubtion might work for reporting or criticism on issues of national importance. But what about local reviews and reporting? Would the A.P. choose to distribute a hard-hitting inquiry into a scandal at a mid-sized mid-western symphony orchestra? Do readers in Seattle care about a review of a new play in Louisville?
Still, aside from facilitating the distribution of properly funded, properly paid arts journalism into print and onto the Internet, this A.P. outlet model for investigative reporting might well be expandable to arts journalism. It wouldn't offer a competitive alternative to the various plans afoot for local blends of arts boosterism, listings, criticism and reporting. But it could help expand the impact of initially nonprofit-driven arts journalism out into the brave new world of eager arts writers and arts readers.