The Next Newspaper Casualty?

The latest newspaper to teeter to the edge of existence is the Chicago Sun-Times, which has just filed for bankruptcy, joining a half dozen other major papers: The company has one significant creditor -- the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has said Sun-Times Media Group owes up to $608 million in back taxes and penalties from past business practices by its former controlling owner, Conrad Black, … [Read more...]

Dog Days, A new ArtsJournal Blog

Today we're happy to launch Dalouge Smith's new blog on arts advocacy. It's called Dog Days. Dalouge runs the San Diego Youth Symphony, and we met last summer in Chicago while I was writing a story on new thinking in how to run orchestras. Why a blog on arts advocacy? There's an awful lot of talking about the state of the arts, about the survival of the arts, and about the place of the arts in the … [Read more...]

You Know You're In Trouble When You're Just A Can Of Peas

Interactivity has been redefined in the past few years. Newspapers used to think they were interactive because they ran letters to the editor. Rarely did they respond to the letters (unless those letters demanded a correction), but "hearing from the readers" became a mantra for the focus-group-driven news organization.Arts organizations have also prided themselves for being interactive. Applause, … [Read more...]

A Culture of Failure

One thing you hear about the current economic mess is that some banks and companies are "too big to fail." This is the idea that if a mega-corporation like AIG goes down, the repercussions are so enormous that other companies will fall in its wake and the whole financial system might fall apart. Thus an argument for tax-payer bailouts.That got me thinking about the culture of failure. Science is … [Read more...]

Will Obama's Tax Changes Hurt the Arts?

Vastine Stabler makes a case that changing the tax code to reduce the the top rate of deduction for charitable giving from 35% to 28% will have an enormous impact on giving to the arts:It may be shocking to learn that the level of federal support for the arts in the United States is most likely the highest in the world. To understand why you need to know how non-profit arts are funded in the … [Read more...]

For every door that closes…

ArtsJournal has been a bit depressing lately. Day after day, there's news of cuts in public funding  arts organizations cutting back, retrenching, or going out of business. Growing numbers of unemployed artists. These links from just the past week or so.And yet, I keep hearing other stories arts organizations holding fund-raisers and raising more money than ever. And other stories of artists … [Read more...]

The NPR Conundrum

The Washington Post reports this morning that NPR's audience has grown about 47 percent in this decade. A pretty nice bump. But NPR is still having to cut as its income declines in the recession. As for longer-term prospects, NPR stands in a pretty interesting space. While audiences for mass-media outlets have declined precipitously in the Online Age, NPR has done very well. But it's current … [Read more...]

Paper Killers

Newspapers aren't the only ones contemplating a digital future. The University of Michigan Press says it will move from paper to pixels:Michigan officials say that their move reflects a belief that it's time to stop trying to make the old economics of scholarly publishing work. "I have been increasingly convinced that the business model based on printed monograph was not merely failing but … [Read more...]

The Paralysis of Choice

A Taiwanese study of people using online dating sites finds that "the more our brains have to search through, the more difficult it also becomes to ignore irrelevant information. A person is also more likely to be distracted (or attracted to) attributes that were not initially relevant or pertinent to their original search."This is the classic consumer conundrum. Too much choice can be paralyzing. … [Read more...]