Results tagged “Dallas Morning News” from ARTicles

In Dallas, KERA public media's nearly two-year-old Art&Seek initiative combines radio, television and online cultural coverage, much of it by former print journalists -- among them reporter/producer Jerome Weeks, a 1999-2000 NAJP fellow. Anne Bothwell, the director of Art&Seek, discussed the project in an e-mail interview.


The team you lead at Art&Seek includes journalists who, like you, are former arts staffers from The Dallas Morning News, which drastically cut its newsroom -- and, consequently, its arts coverage -- in 2006. What did, or does, the absence of strong cultural coverage in the local daily paper mean for Dallas, a city of more than a million people? When Art&Seek was launched in 2008, was that an effort to fill the void?

Like so many other newspapers, the Morning News covered local arts as an almost exclusive franchise. But like so many other papers, the cutbacks in staff affected that franchise. Similar cutbacks at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have led both papers to 'share' coverage, underscoring their dwindling, now-sometimes solitary voice in the community. As coverage waned, artists, presenting and performing organizations and other cultural institutions found it harder to get the word out about their work. Art&Seek was launched in part to fill that need.

Exposure to information about the arts makes it more likely you'll be inspired to pick up a paintbrush or join a dance class. And the theater, dance, music and visual arts we support as a community say a lot about who we are. At their best, cultural coverage and criticism provide a framework to reflect on and talk to each other about what this means. A city without robust cultural coverage is also full of folks missing many opportunities to engage with the arts -- and with each other.

March 24, 2010 12:00 AM |
Arts journalism has always suffered from a perception that arts news isn't real news. Now The Dallas Morning News and its owner, A.H. Belo Corp., give cultural journalism a fresh black eye with what Morning News editor Bob Mong is calling "business/news integration," a.k.a. what most sentient journalists would recognize immediately as a fatal, self-inflicted rupture in the wall between editorial and advertising.

As the Dallas Observer reported yesterday, "some section editors at all of the company's papers, including The News, will now report directly to [senior vice president of sales Cyndy] Carr's team of sales managers, now referred to as general managers." The sections in question are entertainment and sports.

In a memo to staffers, which the Observer published, Mong characterizes the new structure as "the next step toward becoming the most comprehensive and trusted partner for local businesses in attracting and retaining customers and continuing to generate important, relevant content for our consumers." It's hard to believe that the editor -- the editor! -- of a big-city daily could say that and mean it.

Although the memo suggests numerous sections are affected by the change, The New York Times reports today that Mong said only entertainment and sports are involved -- as if that somehow made it acceptable:

In an interview, Bob Mong, the editor of The Morning News, stressed that no other parts of the paper would report to people outside the newsroom, though advertising managers had been assigned to work with several other areas, like health, education, travel and real estate. Asked if there were plans to apply the structure in sports and entertainment to other parts of the paper, he said, "not at this time."

That structure, as Mong's memo explains it:

In the Sports and Entertainment segments, the senior news editors will report directly to the GM while retaining a strong reporting relationship to the editor and managing editor. These collaborations will bring new products that consumers want to the market more rapidly. We are proceeding knowing and trusting each other's distinct roles and responsibilities in the same way our News leadership and our Publisher have worked collaboratively for years.

Right. If you want to rip the heart out of whatever your newspapers have left to sell, this is an excellent way to start.

And, really, how ironic: Arts journalists and sports journalists, united at last.
December 4, 2009 11:01 AM |
"Faced with a choice between two evils, it's usually best to pick the one with a reliable paycheck," Scott McLemee writes today in Inside Higher Ed, explaining why, in the early 1980s, Jerome Weeks gravitated away from academia and into journalism -- a field that, of course, has turned out not to be so solid after all.

Jerome, a former NAJP fellow ('99-'00), spent most of the first act of his career at The Dallas Morning News, logging one decade as the paper's theater critic, another as its book critic. Then, with a buyout a few years ago, came an intermission. Now his second act is well under way, and by McLemee's accounting, it's a success. It's also in arts journalism, which these days is an achievement in itself.

McLemee, a fan in his youth of Dallas public broadcaster KERA, wrote last week of the education the station gave him then, how it subsequently seemed to have lost its way, and how, lately, it's returned to "old-school cultural earnestness" -- a characterization he intends as a compliment. One reason for KERA's revival appears to be the presence of Jerome, a producer and arts reporter at the PBS and NPR affiliate, where he works in radio, online and on TV as well. (Unlike many print journalists, he happens to look like an anchorman, which helps.)

"It sometimes seems I'm dispensing culture chat with an eyedropper," he tells McLemee. "But seriously, how many people can you name who regularly interview authors and artists and review their work -- on television, on radio and online?"
July 29, 2009 10:15 AM |


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