Monday, October 10, 2011

A boost for arts coverage

Since the recession broke out, arts coverage by newspapers and other media has probably been even more squeezed than the cultural groups receiving the coverage. But a consortium of Charlotte media organizations including the Charlotte Observer is among five groups nationwide that will look for ways to use new media to reverse the trend.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts announced this morning that they will give up to $20,000 in planning money toward each of these projects:

In Charlotte, media outlets will join with UNC Charlotte to create the Charlotte Arts News Alliance. The group envisions publishing arts stories across media platforms including a newly developed mobile app. The media operations involved are the Charlotte Observer; Charlotte Viewpoint; WCNC-TV; WFAE-FM; and After talking with the ringleaders, I'll put more about the project in the Observer, or here.

In Detroit, iCritic Detroit aims to have a mobile video booth in which audience members will record reviews to be posted on websites and shared via social media.

In Miami, ArtSpotMiami plans to create an online marketplace and app through which citizen journalists propose stories about the local arts scene, the public pays for the stories they like, and the citizen journalists team with traditional media to produce the stories.

In Philadelphia, students and faculty from Drexel University would work with one of the city's newspapers, the Philadelphia Daily News, to expand the paper's arts coverage.

In San Jose, Calif., Silicon Valley Arts Technica envisions a three-part endeavor: a mapping component to highlight arts events; a mobile app allowing users to add comments, reviews and images; and a series of investigative stories about arts funding in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

The five groups will use their grants to create fleshed-out proposals they'll submit to the Knight Foundation and NEA by the end of the year. Three of the groups will receive up to $80,000 each to produce their projects. Those winners will be announced next spring.