Letter to Will Gompertz

I’ve just commented on Will Gompertz’s new arts blog on the BBC website.  He’s arguing that arts should have a greater place in news coverage on the BBC and in the media generally. This is what I’ve said:

Hi Will
I heard you at the conference on 14th January. Good luck with your new job and your blog.
I too would like arts to be news but I echo some of what has been said here – it shouldn’t just be about personalities, who’s divorcing whom, what they wear on the red carpet or who has just won a prize. At worst, the arts gets the ‘skateboarding gerbil’ slot – “ooh look at this funny idea and the weird people who are saying it’s meaningful! But little old you in the TV audience can just laugh at it” – and not try to gain more understanding or even correct information.

I’d like to see more coverage of actual artistic endeavour. People need to be able to stumble across the arts while flicking through the channels – and be captivated. At the moment, that’s hard to do, particularly on terrestrial TV, because there just ain’t enough of it. Dance, opera, music of all kinds, visual arts, digital arts – just get it on the screen!

I’d also like to see more coverage of state funding and policy, and of the arts as a major part of our economy. The last Arts Council England funding review (and the next), the creation of Creative Scotland, the unexpected cut in Northern Ireland arts funding, the ongoing story about sponsorship and philanthropy. All of these could and perhaps should have been considered, even only for a few lines in the news bulletins – sometimes under arts news, sometimes under a business heading.

The arts are part of the warp and woof of everyday life, but they’re more or less invisible on TV – except for film and the occasional famous novelist. So good luck with the job – I’ll be cheering you on.

Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 10:48  Comments (1)  

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  1. You know what, it’s also CRAZY that there’s so little art on TV when the channels are all screaming out for content. When the digital age came upon us there were loads of execs wanting to run channels and own channels (as in radio) but none of them produced content and had to get it elsewhere. Maybe with the success of Hamlet on BBC4 and the various ballets and operas over Christmas they might look again. And look at all the people buying tickets to see opera in the cinema. You’d think the money men would notice the demand. I sometimes wonder if they think it’s only people like themselves with money who actually pay for the arts and go and see it, and they couldn’t possibly make anything on it if it was on their TV stations…

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