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March 21, 2007

The arts: everywhere, nowhere, and where-the-hell?

Joe Nickell

I've been toodling around the Web today, trying to add the arts pages of newspapers around the Inland northwest to my list of bookmarks.

I say, "trying," because I've been thwarted at nearly every stop, and simply saddened at others.

Top story under the catch-all "Entertainment" link at the Idaho Statesman today? This story, about a certain restaurant's cheese steak. Local arts stories -- or, I should say, the one local arts story -- is buried on the page below the AP entertainment wire feed.

Meantime, over at the Spokane Spokesman-Review site, I just find myself plain lost. As best I can tell, their only online arts stories are consigned to the blog entries of their correspondents at their hipster online feed, "7". And most of those entries are little more than calendar listings and such. There's good arts writing there (and I know there's good writing at the Idaho Statesman as well; my old pal Dana Oland is there and she's no slouch!), but it's not just hard to find; it's almost impossible.

The same is true elsewhere -- including at my own paper, the Missoulian, where you'll find some of the arts coverage under the "Entertainer" link (IF you can find the Entertainer in that endless list of section links); and some of it simply in the daily news section. It just depends how it ran in the paper.

I know that there's tons of stuff happening every week in Spokane and Boise -- the biggest cities in this sparsely populated part of the world. I know, anecdotally, that some of it is pretty interesting.

And now I know how frustrating it must be for people outside of our newsrooms to find out what that stuff is.

Posted by Joe Nickell at March 21, 2007 11:00 PM

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It is frustrating, isn't it? I've also been struggling at trying to find the arts stories in the paper. It's made me have a much greater appreciation for the Lansing State Journal which at least as an "arts" link and actually has local stories on the page from the main paper, the Noise, and from What's On (the latter are two weekly publications put out by the LSJ/Gannett).

There does seem to be a complete blur between art and entertainment rather than just the occasional overlap.

Posted by: Bridgette Redman at March 22, 2007 11:15 AM