Showing my working: supporting arts bloggers

This is a quick exercise in collecting together some thoughts from a few other people. I’ve been mulling some stuff around for a little while which will probably result in a blog post at some point.

It’s something to do with whether/how arts and culture websites (in particular) can or should be supported by marketing/PR agencies and anyone else (arts orgs, advertisers, public bodies and the city more widely) who might want to use them for coverage or other benefits. Thoughts are coming together slowly, so in the meantime here’s a little source material…

First up, Lyn Gardner wrote this on The Guardian’s Stage blog:

I’m not convinced that it’s possible for a strong theatre culture to thrive in a place or an area of work where there is little or no critical attention. You only have to look at the Cinderella sectors of British theatre to see what happens when there is an almost complete lack of critical focus.

Lyn went on to big up NTW‘s New Critics scheme to help nurture new critical Welsh voices (which has spawned the Young Critics scheme) and the Wales Arts International initiative and also said:

On one hand, theatre criticism and arts coverage is under threat from economies made by newspapers who find that in the age of the internet their business models no longer work, and yet on the other hand, the web offers an opening to many more diverse voices commenting on theatre, and allows for the creation of a real dialogue between critics and theatremakers.

Meanwhile, this NMK article had a few good quotes. The general gist of the article can be summed up in this:

While bloggers continue to grow in number and authority, the PR industry apparently continues to overlook bloggers as part of their client publicity outreach, a new study suggests. With almost half of PR professionals “rarely” or “never” engaging with bloggers

It quotes Phil Szomszor as saying:

I’m interested in the dynamic between PRs and bloggers, because in many respects I can see it going the same way as PRs and journalists: in other words, a necessary relationship, but one that could work a lot better

D’log asked ‘How does a city maintain its ‘digital public squares’? which may or may not have had anything to do with the recent Guardian Tech Weekly podcast: creating a digital public space. Also, Ed Walker’s post on handing over a hyperlocal site was very good food for thought, although I can’t pick out anything especially relevant to quote.

Finally, this may or may not have been kicked off by this comment at the Twespians event I went to last month (from 27.25 on the audio):

I was looking at a website trying to work out if it was worth investing in my giving them a pair of press tickets and it is really hard to work out which websites are worthwhile and which ones aren’t. You don’t have the circulation details, sometimes they’re hard to navigate and even on the phone to this individual trying to ask her to explain where […] preview would be put up she couldn’t quite explain it to me. So I think it’s also up to the websites […] to demystify themselves so that we can see their value in terms of hard stats

I’ll also throw in the recent announcement of the winners of the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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