Glasstire a finalist for national arts-journalism award!

Texas's homegrown arts-crit site Glasstire is one of five finalists in a national competition for nothing less than the future of the medium (check it out; that's not much in the way of hyperbole). Here's the press release; more soon. The first, second, and third-place winners will be announced October 30.

LIVE TODAY: The National Summit on Arts Journalism

explores future of cultural reporting

Outstanding examples of entrepreneurial cultural journalism

competing for $15,000 in prize money

LOS ANGELES, October 2, 2009 — Today an ambitious, first-of-its-kind National Summit on Arts Journalism takes place 9:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. (PDT) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. The summit will be streamed live at and simulcast at 17 satellite locations around the world (listed below).

Conceived as a primarily online event, the summit is designed to promote discussion and draw attention to issues facing journalists and arts administrators, who are reinventing the coverage of arts and culture. As traditional media declines in the wake of the digital media explosion and as business models are reassessed, the summit presents and examines some of the most innovative thinking about arts journalism and its future.

Five project finalists have been chosen from among 109 submissions across North America in response to an open call earlier this summer for the best examples of entrepreneurial cultural journalism. In addition to demonstrations of these experimental projects, the day's agenda includes moderated discussions and video seminars on the future directions of arts administration and arts journalism.

The summit's online audience will be able to interact with speakers at the summit through Twitter, live online chatting and blogging. Viewers are being asked to post video responses on the summit's YouTube channel, and elements of the online discussion will be part of the conversation on stage at USC Annenberg.

“This is a real experiment for us,” says Douglas McLennan, who co-directs the event with USC Annenberg journalism professor Sasha Anawalt. “We figured if we were going to be talking about new ways of covering the arts, we ought to be trying new ways of conducting this conversation. There's a lot of energy going in to reinventing arts journalism right now and we wanted to find ways of showcasing some of that creativity.”

“This summit is a new dynamic way to bring together remarkable and important creators, journalists and ideas,” Anawalt says. “This includes everybody — those who submitted a journalism project for consideration, the presenters and speakers on stage, and anyone else who enters the summit's virtual space curious to survey national arts journalism territory.”

The summit is produced by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the National Arts Journalism Program (NAJP) with significant support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Competition heralds innovative arts journalism projects

Of the 109 submissions to the open call for projects demonstrating entrepreneurial cultural journalism, ten examples will be highlighted with video presentations on the day of the summit. Five of these ten are finalists in a competition to find the best use of new technology in the exploration of arts journalism. Each of the finalists have already earned $2,000, and the first-, second- and third-prize winners will split $15,000 in prize money courtesy of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Online voting for the winning project will take place October 2—23 by members of the NAJP and alumni of the four NEA Arts Journalism Institutes fellowship programs —American University (visual arts), Columbia University (classical music and opera), the American Dance Festival at Duke University (dance) and USC Annenberg School for Communication (theater and musical theater). The winners will be announced October 30.

The five finalists are:

1) Departures

Presented at the summit by Juan Devis, artist and producer

KCET, Los Angeles


Departures is an experiment in nonlinear community storytelling in the form of a multimedia Web site. The video is shot by KCET producers and students from partner schools in the neighborhoods, and users experience projects through multiple entry points and navigation pathways on the site. Departures suggests a different way of telling the stories of cultures that haven't found a voice in traditional journalism. Artist Juan Devis has developed an interactive form of journalism that captures the diversity of life in neighborhoods.

2) Flavorpill

Presented at the summit by Mark Mangan, CEO

New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Chicago


Flavorpill is a 21st-century version of the city guide, sorting through hundreds of events each week to make a case for the 25 events in each city its writers believe are worthy of attention. Flavorpill started as an e-mail publisher and has grown to thousands of subscribers and millions of dollars in annual revenues. Revenue comes from advertising, but Flavorpill has also developed an unusual business model allowing venues to set up their own pages on the Web site and write about their own events alongside the site's own editorial staff.

3) FLYPMedia

Presented at the summit by Jim Gaines, editor-in-chief

New York


FLYP is an independent media startup trying to reinvent the magazine online, not just by posting print/image/sound/video content to a Web site, but by rethinking what digital storytelling and the next-generation magazine might become. FLYP's origins are anchored in the physicality of the traditional magazine. Text is important, but image, sound, and video also take turns in the lead. FLYP demonstrates that a general-culture publication can be a compelling window on culture. Its editor, Jim Gaines, was formerly chief editor of People, Life and Time magazines.

4) Glasstire

Presented at the summit by Rainey Knudson, founder



Glasstire is a Web site about visual art in Texas. The site is not a comprehensive report on the visual arts, but as critics have always done, Glasstire argues for a way of seeing art in a region that is different from art made elsewhere. Glasstire is almost nine years old, operates as a nonprofit, and has developed a core of 35-40 writers around the state, all of whom are paid for their work. Knudson says the site is stable and self-sustaining, with traffic continuing to increase. This is a model for arts journalism that should be replicated in other states.

5) San Francisco Classical Voice

Presented at the summit by Patty Gessner, executive producer

San Francisco


San Francisco Classical Voice was created in 1998 when prominent classical music journalist Robert Commanday feared that cutbacks in newspaper coverage would hurt the local classical music scene. His Web site offering comprehensive local coverage has become the go-to resource for finding out about artists, organizations and events. The site's professional writers include a mix of expert academics, journalists and artists. The site is a nonprofit, self-sustained by local donations from foundations, corporations and individuals, and by selling ads and memberships.


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