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July 5, 2010

Castles, Version 2.0

londonmodel.jpgI've been thinking about John's castle-building and wondering it there's another way of approaching it. Instead of building the solution first (the publication vehicle) perhaps the place to start is to ask what is missing now in arts journalism? (yes - the easy obvious answer is a way to pay journalists) But maybe the difficulty of figuring out what the castle should be and how it could be supported would be easier if we were more clear about what the need is. It (whatever "it" is) won't be supportable if there isn't a market for it.

I'd offer two things to start:

  1. 1. Reporting on the arts. To me, the thing that seems to have suffered most as traditional publications have shed arts journalism is knowledgeable reporting on the arts. There are major American cities where there is little or no arts reporting. And the local reporting that does see print is often feeble. (this vs. this.) But I wonder - arts reporting was always a hard sell in the traditional press. Is that because it didn't have readership or because many editors thought it was too niche for a general audience? If so, in a niche economy maybe it does better?

  2. 2. Good ways of sorting through vast amounts of chatter and information and finding the "good stuff." I don't just mean key-word search alerts or new roundups or crowd-sourced story votes. I mean quality writing, provocative ideas, engaged debate, insightful reviews. There's plenty of all of this, but sorting through it to get there is onerous.
Is there a lack of reviews? Certainly not in terms of quantity. Quality sure, but how do you offer quality across a broad enough range of work that finds a large enough audience to support it?

July 5, 2010 11:40 AM | | Comments (1)

1 Comments

"Sorting though the chatter and finding the good stuff" sounds like a perfect goal, and I'd think the NAJP would be in a great position to do this. As a reader, if something called the "National Arts Journalism Program" told me, "Here are the three best stories on Marina Abramovic as chosen by the top critics in America", or "If you're going to read one story on local arts funding, read this one." I'd probably listen. I'd also be thankful (and perhaps even willing to pay!) for the help.

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