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National Arts Journalism Program Selects 2003-04 Fellows

The National Arts Journalism Program (NAJP) has selected seven arts and cultural journalists for research fellowships at Columbia University for the 2003-04 academic year.

The NAJP, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, has offered residential university fellowships to arts journalists since 1994. Since 1997 the program has been based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, in association with Columbia's School of the Arts.

In a departure from past years, for 2003-04 the NAJP has awarded research fellowships to all accepted candidates. In addition to pursuing coursework and other activities at Columbia, the fellows will participate jointly in a research project designed to inform news organizations, arts institutions and philanthropic organizations about important trends in the current U.S. artistic and journalistic environment. The findings will be published in late 2004 in an in-depth NAJP report, "Reporting the Arts II," following up on the program's groundbreaking 1999 study, "Reporting the Arts," the first comprehensive national assessment of how the arts are covered by the news media across America.

The 2003-04 fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, and they include distinguished critics, reporters and editors in their respective fields of cultural coverage. They are:

  • Caryn Brooks, arts and culture editor, Willamette Week
  • Willa Conrad, classical music critic, Star-Ledger (Newark)
  • Paul de Barros, jazz and world music critic, The Seattle Times
  • Bill Goldstein, books editor, The New York Times on the Web, and contributing editor, WNBC-TV
  • Laurie Muchnick, book editor, Newsday
  • Valerie Takahama, staff writer, Orange County Register
  • Lily Tung, segment producer and writer, KRON TV (San Francisco)

NAJP research fellowships offer arts critics, reporters and editors an academic year in which to immerse themselves in curricula at Columbia. Two of the 2003-04 candidates were awarded one-semester fellowships. Fellows receive stipends of $45,000 for the academic year plus tuition at Columbia and additional benefits.

To be published in the fall of 2004, "Reporting the Arts II" will explore disparities between arts activity and arts coverage across America. On the one hand, arts and cultural activity all over the nation-in the large and small cultural venues that help give character to metropolitan areas, in regional settings, in small communities and neighborhoods-has been proliferating and diversifying. On the other hand, newsroom attention to the arts has, on balance, undergone steady retrenchment.

NAJP's 1999 study, Reporting the Arts, examined arts activity and arts coverage in ten metropolitan areas, as well as arts coverage in three national dailies, three network newscasts and the AP wire during the month of October 1998. Reporting the Arts II will revisit the same communities, examining arts coverage in quantitative terms-level and range of staffing and newshole-and evaluating the difficult question of quality as well. The research fellows will assemble case studies of particular cities and art forms, and analyze arts and cultural journalism in various news outlets, including public radio and the Internet.

The study will include in-depth essays by the 2003-04 research fellows and NAJP alumni fellows on a wide range of issues, including news coverage of cultural trends among youth and minority groups, ethical concerns around arts coverage, and the state of criticism and reporting in specific art fields.

Entering its tenth year of operation, the National Arts Journalism Program promotes more and better coverage of the arts in the nation's news media through fellowships, research and public events. The program's 117 alumni fellows to date have included author and journalist Patricia Bosworth, New Republic theater critic Robert Brustein, Village Voice popular-music critic Bob Christgau, Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell, former New Yorker dance critic Arlene Croce, cartoonist, playwright and author Jules Feiffer, Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis, New York Times critic Margo Jefferson, New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman, New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Weschler and numerous other distinguished arts and cultural journalists from around the nation.

In addition to "Reporting the Arts II," upcoming NAJP publications include an in-depth report on the past, present and future of free expression in the arts, based on NAJP's fall 2002 "New Gatekeepers" conference, with essays by some of America's most renowned scholars, legal experts, cultural critics and journalists, and a transcript of the April 2003 "Arts & Minds" conference on cultural diplomacy.

"Our incoming group of fellows is among the strongest in the history of the program," said Michael Janeway, director of the NAJP. "This fellowship program will be a unique opportunity for them to pursue important work and training." Janeway, former editor of the Boston Globe and executive editor at The Atlantic Monthly, spent eight years as dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before joining the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1997.

"Building on the baseline established in the first 'Reporting the Arts' study, we will be able to do something that has never been done before -- provide factual evidence of shifts in priorities in arts coverage," said NAJP's deputy director, AndrasSzanto, a sociologist and journalist on arts and cultural issues who has overseen all NAJP research publications to date.

"By providing these remarkable fellows with well-earned respites from the rigors of day-to-day arts journalism, NAJP helps enrich the entire field," said Marian Godfrey, director of the Culture program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "It is my pleasure to welcome them."

The 2003-04 fellows were selected by NAJP's advisory board, whose members are: Karen Brooks, arts and culture editor, The Oregonian; Jeanne Carstensen, senior arts and culture editor, SFGate.com; Jack Davis, publisher, The Hartford Courant; Arthur Gelb, director, The New York Times College Scholarship Fund; John Horn, film writer, The Los Angeles Times; Jay Kernis, senior vice president for programming, National Public Radio; Abe Peck, professor and chair of the magazine program, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; Ray Rinaldi, assistant managing editor, features and arts, Denver Post; John Rockwell, senior cultural correspondent, The New York Times; Susan Stamberg, special correspondent for the arts, National Public Radio; James Warren, deputy managing editor for features, The Chicago Tribune; and Stuart Wilk, managing editor, The Dallas Morning News.

Guidelines for the 2004-05 NAJP fellowships will be published later this year.

Published: May 27, 2003
Last modified: May 27, 2003

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