National Arts Journalism Program
2950 Broadway, Mail Code 7200
New York, NY 10027

tel: 212.854.1912, fax: 212.854.8129
Network Coverage of Arts and Culture in the 1990s

To order "Television and the Arts," please send a check for $20 payable to NAJP/Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to:
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
2950 Broadway
Mail Code 7200
New York, NY 10027
Attn: Television and the Arts

View/print the report [pdf]

IN THE NEWS MEDIA, NOTHING COMES CLOSE to the power of the evening television newscasts. With a nightly audience of over 20 million households, these programs set the nation's news agenda. But during the past decade, the evening newscasts have steadily dropped the arts from their beat. This groundbreaking report by the National Arts Journalism Program contains the first comprehensive, cross-time analysis of arts and cultural news on the "Big Three" networks: ABC, CBS and NBC. Its findings are sobering. On a typical weekday, viewers are treated to about 30 seconds of information on arts and culture in a newscast. Reports on music, movies, television, the visual and performing arts and books combined account for less than three percent of weekday news programming.

Drawing on precise statistical breakdowns of the amount of time dedicated to various news topics, this report shows that attention to arts and cultural content has been eclipsed by attention to the media that deliver such content. Mass-entertainment coverage predominates, with much time lavished on television itself. "Television and the Arts" analyzes the coverage of the "culture wars" of the 1990s, explores what kinds of art and people appear in cultural reports on television, and includes revealing lists of the top arts stories of the last ten years. Following up on "Reporting the Arts," NAJP's national survey of arts and cultural journalism in newspapers, this study will advance the debate about the role of television in American culture.

NAJP : Publications : Research Reports : Television and the Arts