July 31, 2007
NATIONAL ARTS JOURNALISM PROGRAM ANNOUNCES REOPENING
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McLENNAN Acting Director
Alumni and friends of the National Arts
Journalism Program are happy to announce that the NAJP is resuming
operations. The newly-reconstituted NAJP will be the largest association
of working arts journalists in America and will take a leading role
in supporting the field of arts journalism. With a core membership
of 131 alumni, the reinvented NAJP will expand to welcome working
arts journalists of all disciplines.
The new NAJP will work to:
- Advocate for arts reporting and criticism
- Improve the quality and increase the quantity of arts journalism
- Inform the public and the media industry of standards of excellence
in arts journalism
- Support and mentor arts journalists
- Provide a network for arts journalists in all disciplines.
A seven-member board has been elected
by the membership. Board members include John Rockwell, Robert
Christgau, Laura Sydell, Lily Tung, John Horn, Laura Collins-Hughes,
and Douglas McLennan. Rockwell, until recently a longtime
critic for The New York Times, has been elected Chairman of the
board, Christgau is vice-chairman, and McLennan, the founder and
editor of ArtsJournal.com, is Acting Director. NAJP will collaborate
with a number of organizations on projects supporting arts journalism.
"Journalism in general is in upheaval
right now," said McLennan, "and arts and cultural journalism is
being transformed underneath us. Arts journalism as we have known
it in the past 50 years will look very different five years from
now, and NAJP should be part of the conversation about how the arts
will be covered in America."
"Recent cuts in cultural journalism in
the traditional press are troubling. Every week comes word that
another newspaper is cutting its arts staff, and the erosion of
arts coverage will have a profound impact on the arts in America.
But I believe we stand on the verge of a new age of cultural journalism
as both the quantity of and access to culture expands. Historically,
critics have made their most important contributions during times
of great cultural change. The new NAJP will be arguing for a vigorous
renewal of critical discourse in America."
The Pew Charitable Trusts, which created
NAJP in 1994 and was its primary funder for 12 years, has provided
generous development funding to reestablish NAJP. Whereas the original
NAJP was initially conceived primarily as a fellowship program for
mid-career journalists, the new organization will be a membership
service organization based on a distributed organizational model.
The new NAJP will be nominally located in Seattle, but NAJP's activities
will be national.
In partnership with others, NAJP will
collaborate on fellowships; conduct conferences, seminars and research;
support networking of arts journalists; help in articulating best
practices and ethical standards; support existing critics organizations;
and be a clearing house for information about the field. First order
of business will be expanding membership to working arts journalists.
Information about joining the new NAJP can be found at www.najp.org
NAJP opened in September 1994 as a mid-career
fellowship program. The core of the program was the coveted year-long
fellowships, designed to give outstanding mid-career arts journalists
opportunities to study and broaden their skills. The new distributed
NAJP has its roots in the program's initial DNA. In its first three
years, under the leadership of founding director Abe Peck, NAJP
was located at four universities: Columbia University, Northwestern,
the University of Southern California, and the University of Georgia.
In 1997, the program was consolidated
at Columbia under the leadership of Michael Janeway. Over the next
nine years, NAJP conducted the first-ever research to measure that
state of arts journalism in the American press. Reports included
two national snapshots of arts coverage: Reporting the Arts (1999)
and Reporting the Arts II (2005). Both have been widely cited as
primary indicators of the health/state of arts journalism.
NAJP also surveyed the state of criticism
in the fields of architecture, theatre, classical music, publishing
and TV. NAJP also acted as an important convener of conferences,
bringing together journalists and cultural experts to discuss cultural
issues. In its first 12 years, NAJP awarded 131 fellowships for
arts journalists. The alumni roster includes many of America's foremost
cultural journalists, working for the full spectrum of the country's
news organizations. A full list can be found at: http://www.najp.org/fellowships/pastfellows.html
For more information about NAJP, please
(206) 322-2938 or
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