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Posted by Shannon

The San Francisco arts blog Lies Like Truth notes that as news outlets cut budgets, arts journalism has turned into a career like acting, dancing, or painting – you have to spend a lot of time waiting tables in order to be a theatre critic.

While I’m all for arts journalist Chloe Veltman’s argument that cultural commentators working in this climate should be eligible for arts grants, I think her observation that if they’re not covering classical music they must be doing odd jobs, inadvertently hits on the real problem. Arts journos have long been seen as expendable in newsrooms because so many aren’t journalists at all – real journalists can always change beats. The arts writers who can no longer get work are the arts insiders who were only looking for a way to publicize themselves and their cronies.

News outlets themselves have blurred the distinction between public relations and news to such an extent that many of us have forgotten there used to be a difference between journalism and propaganda. To be clear, journalism is news-gathering done on behalf of citizens, and it’s done in the public interest – it’s not a promotion to serve special interest groups. That’s called PR. - Read more