Sunday, August 16, 2009

Arts Journalism Summit Projects Applications Due Today – Current Applications Stripped Bare

As Douglas posted on ARTicles, project applications are due today:

When we decided to plan the National Summit on Arts Journalism (October 2, 2009) at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, I thought we’d get about 40 projects in arts journalism. With a day to go before deadline, we have almost 70 projects submitted, and the variety is amazing. To be inspired by the future of arts journalism, go to the Summit site and read about the projects.

And if you think you have the next great model for doing arts journalism, you’ve got until midnight Pacific Time Monday to put your project forward. In the next week or so we’ll announce who has been asked to present at the Summit and more details of what the day will look like.

So if you’ve been slacking and think you’re good for this, get on it.

What’s most interesting here is the list of current applicants. There are a lot of familiar names there.

There are a lot of blogs and projects that have been surviving on pro-bono work even though the guidelines seem to specifically discourage them, including the wonderful Big RED, and Shiney. I’m sorry Big RED, I love you, but if “All contributions of content, whether written or photographic, are provided on a pro bono basis,” your buisiness model is not cutting it for me.

This site is all done pro-bono. So are a million other arts sites. I think the challenge is coming up with how people can make a living if this is what they do all the time, not just on the side.

I wish them all luck, though I can’t help feeling like I’m being a little rude by reading some of their applications.

They are asked to define their financial details (or planned details, as it may be) and specific goals for the immediate future. So while it was cool learning  that Art Fag City has interns (re-learning perhaps, I feel like I’ve known this before, and it’s awesome and I want to apply), or that Culturegrrl may be planning micropayments for link mailings (??), I feel like I’m cheating by getting to see how everyone else is hoping to make a living with this junk.

I can’t say I don’t enjoy it though. It’s definitely refreshing to see what others are going through and how they plan to continue. It’s also interesting to try and keep track of the overall trends.

People are either managing to do all right through donations or they’re trying to sound good for this form. Tough to say. I like to think that it’s possible to support the lone artist, reporter, or commentator through donations only, though it seems to me that only a select few might be able to make it that way right now.

The other major trend is grant/gov/community based support not through individual donors. This has probably always been the case for art journalism, so not much to say about that.

Micropayments don’t show up as much, but I’m not surprised about that either. They always seem smarmy to me for some reason. Micropayment, Paywall. Those feel like the dirty words of the internet age.

I hope I’m not throwing a turd in the pool here with some of this commentary. I don’t mean to be cynical. It’s a really tough question to ask, especially when some of the world’s biggest corperations and best paid people can’t seem to figure it out.

On this one, I actually have a lot more faith in these rebels. Heck knows most of them are a thousand times more innovative.

Wait, I always have more faith in the rebels.

Best of luck with your applications, everyone! I know it’s not just a huge cash prize or anything, since it means more work for you guys, but it’s really interesting to see a battle of the buisiness plans like this. Hope some groundbreaking thought comes out of the summit!

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:50 pm  

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