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Journalism is facing significant challenges due to shifts in media consumption habits, declining revenues, and the rapid lifecycle of digital platforms. Arts and culture reporting is no different.

Many publications had reduced or eliminated dedicated arts sections, leading to fewer staff positions and freelance opportunities for arts journalists.

These factors don’t necessarily indicate a complete collapse of arts reporting, but they do reflect a need for arts journalism to adapt in order to survive in the digital-first landscape. At CultureSource, we’ve been tracking the trends to help you understand what is happening in the field of arts journalism. Here’s what we think you should know:

The declining state of the art of arts journalism
The Arts Fuse

Dwindling resources, shrinking newsrooms, and the shift towards digital platforms—which often prioritize clickbait over substantive arts coverage—has led to the decline of arts coverage, resulting in less exposure for artists and their work. These trends have undermined the quality of arts journalism, leading to a loss of critical perspectives and cultural engagement. This trend in arts journalism is part of a wider crisis facing the media industry, with mega-publishers such as Conde Nast, LA Times, Time, and The Washington Post all conducting layoffs within the past year.

Five reasons declining media coverage of the arts isn’t the problem
Arts Journal Blogs

While the decline of journalism has been well documented over several decades, many nonprofits failed to respond to and embrace emerging digital trends. Arts organizations continued to apply traditional marketing strategies to new platforms and failed to upskill their staff in preparation for shifts in the media landscape. Arts organizations must be prepared to be their own press agent, reporter, and publisher going forward.

TikTok is becoming a popular source for news
CBC News

As many regional and local news outlets have shuttered operations, reporters and citizen-journalists have taken to TikTok to fill the gaps. More people now report turning to TikTok to keep up with current events and get updates about their communities. However, this shift raises questions regarding the credibility and accountability of information shared on such platforms.

Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation launch multiyear partnership
Philanthropy News Digest

This new collaboration seeks to understand the evolving media landscape, including the impact of digital technologies on news consumption, trust in media, and the spread of misinformation. Both organizations aim to produce comprehensive studies and analyses that can inform policymakers, journalists, and the public about the changing dynamics of news consumption and its implications for society.

Next Gen News: Understanding the audiences of 2030
Financial Times

After collecting qualitative insights from young people in the United States, India, and Nigeria, this study found that young people have a complex and evolving relationship with the news. They simultaneously understand the value that news can play in their lives but are often disinterested or frustrated with how it’s being delivered to them. The report recommends new approaches to reporting that prioritize social-first content, modernize language, and scale back blanket-coverage of negative stories.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, arts journalism can find renewal on online platforms and independent publications that have emerged as new outlets for arts coverage. Here in Detroit, we are watching publications such as Bridge Detroit, Art Detroit Now, and Detroit Art Review which are embracing new opportunities in the digital landscape while preserving the legacy of traditional arts reporting.

Key Takeaways

Check out the key takeaways from a series of arts journalism roundtables, hosted by CultureSource at our spring 2024 Biannual Member Meeting.