Backpack Journalism: New Media’s Effect on Arts Journalism and Criticism in the U.S.

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New Media Journalists tote backpacks loaded with a video cameras, laptops, audio recorders, digital cameras, iPods, and cell phones, ready and able to report news and tender commentary in multiple platforms at an instant from any location. They are proficient in story-telling in all formats: visual, audio and written. They construct podcasts, slideshows, blogs, websites, and upload them for global instant access.

The effects of new media communication has had a profound effect on arts journalism and arts criticism in the United States, especially as practiced by the new generation. It is reflected in the way young journalists/critics are writing about and thinking about culture; it is evident in the way arts organizations create their websites for new audiences. But where does the arts journalist and the traditional art critic fit into this new paradigm? How has the Digital Revolution already changed the way the next generation communicates about arts and culture?

Keywords: Criticism, Arts Criticism, Critic, Journalism, Arts Journalism, Journalism Education, Education, New Media, Digital Technology
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , , , Backpack Journalism

Prof. Johanna Keller

Director, Goldring Arts Journalism Program
S. I. Newhouse School, Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York, USA

Keller is the Founding Director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University, the first graduate program at an accredited U.S. university to train journalists to write about interdisciplinary arts including architecture, film, fine arts, popular culture, television, music and theater ( She teaches arts criticism, newspaper and communications at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and is a Core Faculty member of the University’s Honors Program. She writes frequently for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, London Evening Standard, Chronicle of Higher Education, and for art and music magazines. For her essays in the New York Times, she received several prizes, including the 2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award; during her tenure as editor of Chamber Music magazine, the publication received its first six national awards for excellence in editorial and design. She has twice been a juror in Criticism for the Pulitzer Prizes (2007 and 2008) and was a fellow at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and at Getty USC Annenberg. An activist in arts journalism, she was one of the principal organizers of the first National Critics Conference, an interdisciplinary event that took place in LA in May 2005 and attracted 500 arts critics from across the US. She received teaching awards from Syracuse University in 2007 and 2008 for excellence in graduate education. She lives in Syracuse and New York City.

Ref: A09P0025