Tis the season....to complain about contests

Yes, it's contest season for us daily newspaper reporters, the time of year when we break out the glue-sticks and tape to assemble our personal best-of work from the past year, in hopes that someone, somewhere, will give us the thanks and recognition that we so rarely get from our own employers.

Do I sound cynical? Well, I guess I am a bit cranky about the whole thing. After all, as an arts journalist, my chances of winning an award are slim to none. While some might assert that that's a function of my lousy writing, I find myself stuck at the starting line.

Where are all the arts journalism contests?

Oh, there are a few out there. The Pulitzer, notably, has categories in music, theater, and letters (books). But look at the list of past winners, and it's clear that a daily reporter whose job entails writing about arts-life in a small town, for a small-circulation newspaper, does not a frequent winner make. I would be competing directly against writers at the New York Times and elsewhere, where reporters are actually given more than a couple of days to write a given story (not the case, generally, at my paper or other small papers I know of).

Beyond the Pulitzer, though, there are scant few national awards that specifically and exclusively focus on arts writing. In fact, I had an easier time finding an award for reporting on colon and rectal disease than reporting on the arts. And yet again, as I noted here last year, the Montana Newspaper Association failed to include an arts or entertainment category in its annual contest, despite the fact that every daily paper in the state has a weekly arts page or section (not true for agriculture, which still gets its own category).

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?

Or maybe it's just the same lack of respect that plagues the American arts world in general -- the sense, broadly held, that it is frivolous and secondary to the big issues in life and society. Ah well.

February 14, 2008 11:48 AM | | Comments (1)



Someone needs to write a grant to a big foundation to endow an arts journalism award!

We don't even have decent arts coverage here in Sacramento CA. the weekly doesn't cover the visual arts anymore and the hours of one 1 freelancer at the daily paper (The Bee) has been cut in half.

I'm half thinking that I'll put an ad on craig's list and see if I started an arts review blog if I could get a few other writers to submit as well.

Joe Nickell responds: That's an excellent idea, Ann. In fact, if you get it going, let us know. That's the kind of DIY stuff we love to highlight!

Leave a comment

Recent Comments


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by FlyOver published on February 14, 2008 11:48 AM.

And bad grammar is killing us was the previous entry in this blog.

Condo of Dreams is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.