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Exploring New Ideas for Arts Journalism

USC is looking for new approaches to cultural coverage, the best of which will be showcased at the National Summit on Arts Journalism.
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With cultural coverage rapidly disappearing from the nation's shrinking newspapers, new forums for arts journalism need to be found. Otherwise, as reported in an in-depth piece in March, the arts risk becoming an evermore marginal facet of American society.

So those who cover the creative scene are being forced to think creatively themselves, as they experiment with new, economically viable ways of getting information, criticism and analysis to the public. Now, the University of Southern California is collecting intriguing new approaches to cultural coverage, the best of which will be explored at an on-campus summit this fall.

The National Summit on Arts Journalism will be webcast live from Los Angeles beginning at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Oct. 2. It is sponsored by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the National Arts Journalism Program. 

"If arts journalism is increasingly not viable in traditional media, we are committed to helping to find or create new and better models," states the summit's Web site. "There are many ideas currently buzzing for attention. Our intention here is to try to identify some of the most promising and give them wider circulation."

"We're looking for sustainable new models that have the potential to support arts journalism," the site adds. "These can be established projects or startups, but must already be launched or on a clear trajectory to launching. Size of the project is not necessarily a factor, but impact is."

Projects are to be submitted online. They will be accessible to the public through Aug. 17, at which point they will be evaluated by a panel of veteran arts journalists. Five winners will be announced Sept. 1. Representatives of all five will receive travel expenses to come to Los Angeles and give a live multimedia presentation at the Oct. 2 summit.

Roundtable discussions of the ideas will follow, including input from the online audience.

Bloggers are welcome to submit an application, but the site notes: "We're not looking for blogs unless there's something that makes your blog both sustainable as a business model and replicable."

In the two weeks following the event, members of the National Arts Journalism Program and alumni of the National Endowment for the Arts' Arts Journalism Institutes will vote on their favorite projects. Prizes will be $7,500 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $2,500 for third.

So forget the notion of arts & entertainment. The new paradigm is arts & entrepreneurship.

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