New frontiers for arts journalism

Posted on: March 18, 2009

In an article posted Monday (3/16) on the website of think-tank Miller-McCune, Tom Jacobs writes about how, as the Internet age kills off print publications—and traditional avenues for arts criticism—“arts journalists, arts organizations and artists themselves are nervously pondering what will take their place. The situation is most dire for the journalists themselves, who find themselves no longer able to make a living pursuing their passion. But it is also of great concern to arts administrators, who are just now coming to grips with the impending cutoff of one of their strongest lines of communication with the community.” Doug McLennan, editor of artsjournal.com, “estimates that in 2005, there were approximately 5,000 staff positions on American newspapers that involved writing about the arts.” Today, he puts the number at about 2,500. Jacobs writes about the possibility of blog sites with ad revenue filling the gap, but also notes drawbacks. “Web sites tend to be very focused,” notes Gil Cates, managing director of the Geffen Playhouse in West Los Angeles (and producer of the annual Academy Awards broadcast). “It’s that general audience that is the hardest to reach. I want to attract the crowd that looks at a newspaper on a Saturday and asks, ‘What do you want to do tonight?’ ”
Posted March 18, 2009