Results tagged “Reporting the Arts,” from ARTicles

There's nothing like looking over the past few entries on ARTicles (Rockwell, Christgau, McLennan, Munro) to kindle a warm, comfortable feeling about the state of professional journalism. But when you think about it, in American journalism, this period is the first major professional state of crisis we have experienced. Critics haven't been around that long in the scheme of things. Some of the titans are still alive.

 

Robert Brustein.jpgRobert Brustein (left) responded to the news about Alan Rich's surprise empty severance package after three-score plus of writing music criticism by drawing my attention to this YouTube taping by Philoctetes of a recent conversation moderated by Roger Copeland with Stanley Kauffmann, Eric Bentley and himself.

Set aside an hour to watch "The Critic as Thinker," because this grouping may never happen again and within it is much gold. Wisdom does equal gold. (When our elders speak of "theater" try substituting the words "arts journalism" and see if you don't realize that revolution and outrage are as organic and necessary to journalism as they are to the arts. Bentley raises the spectre of "theater is dead" -- well, they say, it is continually dying and complaining about it is healthy for us, for theater. Fighting death, observing the changes, reporting on destructive causes, criticizing the corruption -- that's our job. Point is: fierce complaints and outcry are the precursors to real change. This is a good sign. That we are mad, upset, feeling as hopeless and indignant as we are -- bravi!)  

If we don't know how to get ourselves out of this mess, it is partially because we don't have any road map; no history to teach us lessons. We are in the first stages of growth -- out of childhood and into adolescence with a wrenching, horrific jolt that goes by the name of Internet. Only the National Arts Journalism Program, to my knowledge and those who ought to know, took upon itself in its esteemed "Reporting the Arts" publications of 1999 and 2004 the task of surveying, researching, quantifying and qualifying what arts journalism is as a professional field. Otherwise we are somewhat in the dark, feeling our way.

In the time it would take to prepare similar studies and publish them, it may be too late.

For now, I'd say about 40 journalists, educators, artists, arts administrators, even clergy and regular citizens responded to the blog post ("Stand up for each other") that precedes this one with good ideas, concrete solutions, business models to pursue, leaders to follow and with generous, healthy outrage.

We are, as arts-centric reporters, definitely at risk. But people I never knew -- had it not been for the Internet and ARTicles -- are working on prompt, viable solutions. It's not too late. Yet.  

May 30, 2008 3:10 PM |


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    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value.
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    ARTicles Bloggers Meet our bloggers: Sasha Anawalt, MJ Andersen, Alicia Anstead, Laura Bleiberg, Larry Blumenfeld, Jeanne Carstensen, Robert Christgau, Laura Collins-Hughes, Thomas Conner, Lily Tung Crystal, Richard Goldstein, Patti Hartigan, Glenn Kenny, Wendy Lesser, Ruth Lopez, Nancy Malitz, Douglas McLennan, Tom Moon, Abe Peck, Peter Plagens, John Rockwell, Werner Trieschmann, Lesley Valdes and Douglas Wolk. more

    NAJP NAJP is America's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of arts and cultural journalism. The NAJP has produced research, publications and discussions and works to bring together journalists, artists, news executives, cultural organization administrators, funders and others concerned with arts and culture in America today. more

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