Due to rapid technological advances, journalists face a challenging, ever-changing landscape. With fewer full-time critics, less space given to coverage in traditional print media and with the arts in Britain facing major funding cuts, the arts journalist’s responsibility has never been greater.
The arts columnist continues to inform the public of cultural events, allowing audiences the freedom to decide how to spend their spare time. Imparting wisdom and opinion, they allow consumers to make informed decisions. Writing, interviewing, reviewing and previewing on cultural events ensures the arts stay on the agenda.
Arts journalism matters because the arts matter – the basic way we engage with philosophies and ideas comes from discussing and dissecting art as intelligently, as publicly and as entertainingly as possible, and art does not exist in a vacuum. The best arts journalism puts its subject in context while remaining enriching, engaging and informative. It asserts a vital role in the community, guiding and inspiring audiences to discover creativity, while encouraging attentiveness and discussion.
Exceptional writing can be critical in encouraging audiences to question the economic systems and controlling ideologies that condition everything we consume, fostering important discussion and debate. Art is a language through which the world communicates itself to itself and the skilled writer helps decipher the code, uncovering hidden meanings and highlighting revelations that have been overlooked or misunderstood.
The proficient reviewer understands that the privilege of influencing strangers carries responsibilities and though many believe the critic’s fundamental role is to nurture and promote the arts, they have a duty to be truthful. The astute, commendable critic understands that their purpose is not to flaunt their brilliance, but to communicate balanced, sound arguments.
Though often dismissed as trifling and superficial, arts journalists provide a vital service, advising, enlightening and entertaining with absorbing prose that can be enjoyed as art in itself.