Online coverage of arts and culture is continuing to grow and become more important to artists and organizations. That was the conclusion reached at the National Summit on Arts Journalism held today, and streamed live from this blog.
Online there are more than 300,000 blogs like this already in existence, not to mention hundreds of online magazines, multi-media sites and other variations on traditional coverage. The question is what is going to be the economic model. How do the writers get paid. It seems when the discussion turns to the finances, the traditional business model falters. Support seems to moving in the direction of a hybrid taking different parts of existing profit and nonprofit models. For all the individuality that artists and blogs represent, success seems to tied to the ability to scale up any efforts to become attractive to either advertisers or funders.
The presentations by the innovators in this field were wonderful, combining creativity and good reporting with the array of multimedia available to online entrepreneurs today. These examples are available for viewing, as are the roundtable discussions that followed. Topics covered ethics, income and the evolution of arts journalism.
In the digital age, it appears that some arts organizations are already ahead of the critics in technology and in a basic understanding of what the public wants. And that technology savvy ticket buyers want more personal involvement in the arts themselves, just reading objective critical response is too narrowly focused. People want context in their content, and to shape the arts experience to their own lives.
The four hour session was interspersed with sample tweets and online comments from viewers which provided immediate feedback to the hosts of this event, Doug McLennan of Arts Journal and Sasha Anawalt, director of USC Annenberg Arts Journalism Programs.
The entire conference held on October 2, 2009 has been archived and is reachable at Journalism Summit Website