Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Collective Bargaining

This is a post from Mission Paradox with a pretty good idea for increasing arts coverage in your area. I like it. I hope you do, too.
Posted by Chris Casquilho


Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals said...

I hope we can get a real dialog going on this, this is an issue UpstArt is dealing with right now.

Okay, here's the set up. UpstArt formed about a year and a half ago to help out other non profits. During that time, while we waited for our own non profit status, we'd made several attempts to get media coverage in order to broaden our volunteer base because we all know that the more hands you have helping, the more opportunities you can take advantage of. The Post Star has given us a spot on the State of the Arts Forum and interviewed our organization twice as the next generation of art in this area. All of the local arts organizations from Bolton to Schenectady support us. We now have non profit statusand have applied for grant funding for 2009. But the issue is, we get no regular coverage of events going on within our group. Our press releases have been ignored for that entire year and a half by The Post Star and The Chronicle. No one's ever reviewed a show we've had. We've sent multitudes of comp tickets and no one comes to our events from the media. We can't let people know about us if our own local media doesn't support us. I do not think non profits who strive to improve the community, and preserve the culture of this area, and stimulate economic growth while providing a reason to stay in this area for this "next generation", should have to pay $300 - $600 a month for ads for a year before they've earned enough clout to push around an arts editor. We are providing a service already. We have taken ads out for special events but we are not solvent enough to waste money on over-priced media when that money could be going back into the community for Third Thursday Art Walk or poetry slams or art forums. As far as local arts coverage, I agree that the local high school play IS a smashing success but can we talk about the video installation we're showing as an equally stimulating event in the community? Or the charity art auction?

I have MUCH more to say about this as we are actively engaged at this point in trying to professionally criticize some local "arts writers" explaining the difference between journalism and blogging but I'd like to see some others give feedback on this issue. Maybe it's something we can talk about next week.

Alicia Nabozny

Emerging Upstate Arts Professionals said...

Hi Alicia,

We too have had problems getting media coverage for our programs and events. You are right, arts editors are happy to send you to the advertising department where you can pay a hefty price for an ad, but are seemingly unwilling to print information or cover an event. The upcoming EU^P meeting is a perfect example; three press release have gone out and none have been picked up by any of the media outlets I have been monitoring - short of calling them and begging them to print our press release or info about upcoming events - I have no idea what to do. I think it is something we should all discuss, and brainstorm about a way to turn it around.

Chris Casquilho said...

Calling and begging certainly has an effect. Having board members extend personal invitations, not just to arts writers, but perhaps to managing editors or publishers, features editors, or freelance contributors to your event may be several side routes to the goal. Just as with audiences, the best way to attract coverage is to design a message that makes your activity relevant - making the relevance clear to the writer. Up here, the Champlain Valley Film Society gets much more traction in the press than the Depot Theatre, even though CVFS is newer and smaller. It's possible that it's perceived as more relevant to the regular readership - but it's also possible that it gets ink because they have a Press Republican columnist on their board...

In Glens Falls, Mark Frost serves on the board of the Wood Theater, and Wood typically gets great press in Frost's paper - the relevance to him seems to be that it's good for the community and good for business - not necessarily because he's a huge personal fan of The Pajama Game, etc.