Discussion1. What does arts and entertainment news cover?2. Where do you find arts and entertainment coverage?3. How does it compare with general news coverage?
Arts and entertainment covers CULTURE!This type of news is focused on what society is interestedin, including music, movies/films, books, television, theater, and artand design. It also concerns itself with the people involved in all ofthese elements of culture, typically called artists, public figures, orcelebrities.
Where can you find arts and entertainment news?Arts and entertainment news is everywhere. You can find it online onmajor news websites, self-made blogs (like the famous celebritygossip site www.perezhilton.com), social media websites(Facebook, Twitter, etc) and more. It can also be seen on television innews broadcasts and on entertainment networks such as VH1, MTV orthe like. It is also covered in popular entertainment magazines such asThe Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. Even radio journalismhas coverage specifically tailored towards arts and entertainment, frombroadcast radio reporters who have stations dedicated to arts andentertainment coverage to major radio networks such as NationalPublic Radio’s arts and entertainment news section (called “Arts &Life”). As you can see, there are multiple journalistic platforms thatprovide different types of arts and entertainment coverage.This module will focus mainly on The New York Times coverage of artsand entertainment, breaching out to other examples for additionalinformation.
News vs. Entertainment“News content tends to be studied apart from entertainment content. Yet, the linebetween the two forms is increasingly blurred.” -Rebecca Ann Lind and David L. Rarick in the Journal of Mass Media EthicsThe following table is based on a study of arts and entertainment coverage onmajor television network programs. It shows that entertainment stories areprevalent on television news programs. Source: Mass Communication and Society
Newsworthiness and DemandFrom Journalism:“[N]ews about the war in Iraq rests firmly at thetop, and…a diversity of news material is important toaudiences…news media have a responsibility toprovide audiences not only with what they need, butwhat they want” (Harries 627).What do audiences want? A spectrum of news thatincludes everything from politics to celebrity gossip.Arts and entertainment coverage provides a relieffrom more serious news topics.
Arts and Entertainment has a “place” on all major news websites… CNN Washington Post Fox News ABC CBS
High Culture vs. Low CultureEntertainment coverage typically focuses on what is called “low culture,”more commonly known as popular culture. Popular Culture Cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people. Arts coverage tends to focus more on “high culture”, which is the opposite of popular culture. It is typically considered more elitist because it is assumed that less people are interested.
Dwindling Coverage of High ArtsDespite the fact that interest in high arts has not diminished, the amount of coverage of high arthas significantly decreased over the years.Doug McLennan, editor of the online arts news service ArtsJournal.com: “Dance coverage in mostnewspapers is very, very small, yet the number of participants worldwide is increasing. There are250,000 choruses in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know it by reading most American newspapers.”In an article in The Seattle Times:“From 1992 to 1997, King Countys population grew 5.5 percent - and the audience attendingnonprofit cultural events grew 28 percent. Total attendance in 1997, the last year tallied bythe King County Corporate Council for the Arts, was more than for the Seahawks, Mariners andSonics combined. That doesnt include commercial enterprises like galleries, rock concerts andBroadway shows.”Why?Since interest is clearly not the problem, what is causing this lack of high arts coverage?
The Problem: ConsumerismFrom Condition Critical:“The arts criticism in most national magazines, in nearly all newspapers around thecountry, and even in the arts weeklies has become shorter in length and lighter in tone —where it has survived at all — and the concerns of much of the critical writing publishedboth in print and online have grown progressively commercial: What to watch? What tobuy? Is the movie worth the cost of admission? Is the book worth the cover price?”Alisa Solomon, the director of the Arts and Culture program at the Columbia UniversityGraduate School of Journalism, essentially said the problem is “the idea that anythingthat’s worthwhile pay for itself. In an environment where there’s disdain for expertise, andwhere intelligent conversation about a topic is considered elitist and thereforeoppressive, critics look not only dispensable, but somehow evil or wrong. Our attitudestoward the arts have been framed within this notion that they have to have some kind ofutilitarian or commercial value, and were losing our ability to talk about them in otherterms."
Discussion: Focus on High Culture or Pop Culture? (CBS)
Did you notice?• Focus on celebrities: popular culture• “Buy two and half men mug”: advertisements for popular culture• See arrow: One of the only examples of high culture, an upcoming performance at the Kennedy Center, has to be sponsored?
On CNN’s entertainment homepage, there are several examples of how popular culture is emphasized.
An Exception to the Rule: New York TimesMost news websites introduce arts and entertainment news as“entertainment” on their home page, as we saw on the slidediscussing placement. Even in looking at how the New York Timesintroduces arts and entertainment news on their home page (seenleft), it is clear that this organization takes a more serious stance onthis type of coverage.
Lorne Manly (seen on the left), the entertainment editor of The New York Timesanswered viewers’ questions about entertainment coverage. One questionfocused on how this news organization balances coverage of high culture andlow culture, and Manly’s answer gave a key example on the difference betweenhow this news organization covers pop culture in comparison to how tabloidscover it.
A look at how The New York Times expands its audience using social mediaThe New York Times’ Facebook account is used to share a critique of a popular film with theiraudience.
A look at how The New York Times expands its audience using social mediaThe New York Times created a twitter account simply for their arts beat, which is used to give its large audience (of over 430,000 followers) instant updates about its arts and entertainment coverage.
Like most other news media, The New York Times puts something like theimage to the left in every article. By doing this, news websites attempt to gettheir audience to use social media to share the news and information reportedin their publication. For example, if you click the “RECOMMEND” buttonbeside the Facebook icon (in the image to the left), you are given the option ofposting arts and entertainment news on your wall (screenshot example below).These types of functions make the audience feel more involved, and audienceinteraction is key to successful journalism. It also increases interests in thenews covered, allowing for it to be shared with people who may not be regularvisitors of arts and entertainment news websites.
The New York Times: More Serious Arts CoverageIn addition to news and information regarding arts and entertainment, The New York Timesalso provides an “Arts and Entertainment Guide”. This guide provides a list of upcomingperformances in arts and entertainment. It is sorted by “Critics Picks,” meaning each ofthese shows has been chosen by a critic who believes they are of good quality. Here is ascreenshot: DISCUSSION: • What is the benefit of this type of tool for the audience? • How is it useful for people interested in arts and entertainment? • Could it be used for other arts and entertainment journalists? How?