The Playgoer: Nat'l Arts Journalism Prog lives again!

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Nat'l Arts Journalism Prog lives again!

Remember how Columbia J-School [ceased hosting]* its National Arts Journalism Program--a fellowship supporting eminent critics and promoting arts coverage in the media--lo, two long years ago? Well it's back, albeit in different form.

The National Arts Journalism Program, which in 2005 ceased operating after 11 years for lack of funds, has re-emerged in a different guise. Rather than being a fellowship for mid-career arts journalists, it will now be a membership organization for mid-career arts journalists, advocating for the increased quality – and quantity – of arts reporting and criticism in all media. Arts Journal Editor Doug McLennan is serving as acting director, while retired New York Times performing arts critic and editor John Rockwell is its chairman.

“Every week comes word that another news organization is cutting its arts staff,” said McLennan in his comments, “and the erosion of arts coverage will have a profound impact on the arts in America. But as access to culture and the arts continues to expand, a new culture of arts journalism is coming into focus. Historically, critics have made their most important contributions during times of great cultural change….The new NAJP will be arguing for a vigorous renewal of critical discourse in America.”
I am already indebted to McLennan on an almost daily basis for his ArtsJournal site (and its link-abundant email bulletins) and so god speed, Doug, on bringing something back to life here.

*CORRECTION UPDATE: Sorry, it's been brought to my attention that I've mischaracterized Columbia's role in NAJP's departure, and that the main issue was the program's loss of its independent source of funding, while the J-School was just playing host.

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