More Valuable – The Ticket Buyer Or The Donor?

Give an arts organization $1000 and they'll put your name in the program. Buy $1000 worth of tickets and they'll tell you that the cost of your ticket only covered 55 percent (or 40 percent or 30 percent) of the cost of you being there. Then a few months later, long after the performance, they try to hit you up for more money. Gee thanks.Maybe this is backwards. Who's the more valuable member of … [Read more...]

Power Law – Why Arts Organizations Need To Reinvent

Newspaper publishers have been lashing out at Google for aggregating headlines and selling ads on the news feeds. The criticisms are controversial (my thoughts here). Google directs huge rivers of traffic to news stories, and publications like that. But aggregation has in some ways come to compete with the news organizations themselves. Most newspapers have thought of themselves as producers of … [Read more...]

"T" Is For Torture. Period. Just Say It

One of the big failings of traditional media is its fetishization of "objectivity" in the face of facts. At its best, objectivity is an attempt at fairness to present opposing views. But too often it reflexively reduces issues to non-sensical polarized he said/she said arguments without the journalistic application of facts. If I say the sky is green, is it the reporter's job to report the story … [Read more...]

Pianist Rejects American Military From the Stage

Krystian Zimerman is one of the world's best pianists. Sunday night he was making his debut at LA's Disney Hall. And then:Before playing the final work on his recital, Karol Szymanowski's "Variations on a Polish Folk Theme," Zimerman sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience. In a quiet but angry voice that did not project well, he indicated that … [Read more...]

Do we need Institutions To Make Art?

In the early '00's, the movie industry looked on as the music industry's business model was cannibalized by file sharing services. Bandwidth issues bought Hollywood a few extra years to figure out how to adapt to the digital threat. Eventually iTunes proved a viable model to sell music over the web, even as the recording industry devolved into smaller pieces. The movie industry did indeed benefit … [Read more...]

Wanted: The Steve Jobs Of Journalism

The genius of Steve Jobs is not that he has great ideas. Many people have great ideas. It's not that he can hire people with great ideas, or even that he can recognize a great idea when he hears it. The genius of Steve Jobs is that he has the ability to look at a great idea and figure out whether there's a business model to support it. There is no shortage of people who seem to have figured out … [Read more...]

Theatre, Celeb Journalism, And Journalism

Two articles over on the ARTicles blog at the National Arts Journalism Program. First, Laura Collins-Hughes has a take on this year's Pulitzer for theatre and why it's important that the finalists are all women:...women playwrights are vastly underrepresented on our stages. Because "diversity" isn't just a buzzword. The Pulitzer isn't important in itself; it matters because of its ripple effect. … [Read more...]

Short Attention Span Theatre

Mark Ravenhill argues that endless choice has shortened our attention spans, to the detriment of all art.Maybe we should blame the invention of the TV remote control: people often do. At some point around 30 years ago, it became possible to hop aimlessly between channels. Programme-makers became convinced that they had to make a pitch for their show in its opening few seconds, and then keep on … [Read more...]

A Plan To Help Newspapers That Will Hasten Their Demise?

The high-profile launch this week of an effort to create a paid pass to access news content got a lot of attention because of the principals involved. JournalismOnline is the idea of veteran media execs Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery. Their venture aims to supply publishers with ready-made tools to charge Internet fees, an idea that has gained currency as advertising revenue … [Read more...]

Creative Destruction And The Critics

A shameless plug for a piece on All Things Considered by Laura Sydell on what's happening with arts journalism as newspapers drop arts coverage. As I say in the piece, IMHO what's happening is not the destruction of arts journalism, but the reinvention of it. Arts journalism has often had an uneasy home in newspapers, and arts coverage was relegated to the "soft" sections. In recent years, the … [Read more...]