Short Shrift in the Arts Press

By Ahmad, Shazia | American Theatre, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Short Shrift in the Arts Press


Ahmad, Shazia, American Theatre


Television, movies and music dominate arts coverage in newspapers at the expense of theatre, dance and the visual arts, a recent study by Columbia University has found. In addition, cultural listings occupy 50 percent of the space in the arts section of newspapers.

These and other findings appear in "Reporting the Arts: News Coverage of Arts and Culture in America," a 140-page study conducted by Columbia University's National Arts Journalism Program. In the first comprehensive analysis of arts coverage in the nation's media, the report assembled 15,000 articles over the course of one month (October 1998). Fifteen metropolitan dailies (including the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Houston Chronicle) and three national newspapers (the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today), as well as wire and national TV network coverage, were scrutinized for stories covering arts and culture. Other key findings in the report included:

* Featurized treatment of the arts was common, with culture and arts in most newspapers amalgamated with lifestyle and entertainment sections. …

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