Monday, July 07, 2008

Alarmism will sound

Ordinarily, I'd be elated to discover a prominent media mention of my former graduate program in arts journalism, but this most recent one, in an article by Financial Times' Martin Bernheimer, is hardly cause for celebration. With daily newspapers scaling back or eliminating their coverage of the arts, notable music critics are being dropped left and right, and Bernheimer wonders whether programs like one from which I graduated last June might be fighting a losing battle.

...several academic institutions are offering programmes dedicated to improving the quality of arts journalism. The University of Southern California is spending $1m to train incipient critics. Syracuse University has created a master’s degree programme for the same purpose. One wonders where the graduates will find work.

Upon learning of USC's establishment of a degree-granting program, supplementing its already very highly-regarded mid-career Fellowship program, I must confess I wondered the very same thing.

I count myself lucky that I was able to find work writing about music, in some form, immediately after graduating; I know that many of my classmates were not so fortunate. I don't know what awaits the program's most recent graduates or the journalists that began their studies in the 2008-09 edition of the Goldring Arts Journalism program this past week. To both of those groups, I can only offer this: be curious, do your research, and be dogged in the pursuit of stories, regardless of the subject or the audience. There are always ways to make yourself heard and to make your work read.

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