Exploring a career in arts journalism? Start here.

Art holds the power to transcend boundaries and ignite the imagination. When executed effectively, arts journalism plays an equally powerful role.

In an era where print space and broadcast time for arts reporting are dwindling within mainstream media, the importance of dedicated arts journalism becomes even more pronounced. This shift matters because it signals a potential loss of appreciation for the transformative power of art in our society. Independent content creators and freelancers have stepped into this vacuum, yet without a cohesive focus, their contributions often remain sporadic.

Arts journalism is essential. It serves as a bridge between the creators and the audience. It acts as a window into cultures, histories, and individual experiences that may otherwise remain unexplored. By documenting, critiquing and contextualising artistic expression, arts reporting helps preserve cultural heritage and contributes to the broader dialogue about the role of creativity in shaping our world

To get you going on your arts reporting journey, we present some entry points and a few story ideas to vary your coverage.

10 tips for aspiring arts journalists

  1. Develop a solid understanding of different art forms, their historical context, and their significance within culture.
  2. Attend arts events regularly to stay updated on the latest trends, emerging artists and significant developments within the arts community.
  3. Cultivate relationships with artists, critics, curators and arts organisations to establish a robust network and gain access to exclusive stories and events. Stay connected with local art institutions, museums, and galleries to access a wealth of resources, exhibitions and events that can inspire your reporting.
  4. Conduct thorough research to understand the nuances and background of the art you are covering, enabling you to provide informed and insightful reporting. Dedicate time to studying the work of influential artists, understanding their artistic journeys and the impact they’ve had on the local art scene.
  5. Develop a critical eye, providing honest and fair critiques while respecting the intentions and artistic choices of the creators.
  6. Hone your storytelling skills to convey the emotional and intellectual impact of art to a diverse audience, using descriptive language and engaging narratives. Experiment with different mediums of storytelling, including text, visuals, audio and video, to cater to different audience preferences and enhance the overall arts reporting experience.
  7. Collaborate with photographers, videographers and graphic designers to enhance the visual appeal of your reporting, allowing readers to experience the art through multimedia elements.
  8. Balance your reporting by covering both established, well-known artists and emerging, lesser-known talents, giving a comprehensive view of the vibrant art scene in your country, region or district.
  9. Remain open-minded, curious, and receptive to new ideas, perspectives and artistic expressions, constantly pushing the boundaries of your own understanding and knowledge.
  10. Participate in as many workshops, seminars and masterclasses as you can to deepen your knowledge and gain insights from industry experts and practitioners.

Expanding your arts reporting spectrum

  • Investigate how the gig economy is reshaping the arts sector. Explore how freelance artists, including musicians, visual artists and performers, navigate this landscape, seeking opportunities and sustaining their creative careers.
  • Explore significant architectural projects providing background, design principles and the societal impact of these structures.
  • Explore the impact of public art installations on urban landscapes, community engagement and the promotion of cultural identity.
  • Highlight artists who have successfully turned their passion for the arts into sustainable businesses, showcasing their creative journeys and challenges.
  • Analyse the synergy between visual and auditory arts, showcasing artists who create album covers, stage designs and music-inspired artwork.
  • Investigate how artists are using their work as a tool for social change, addressing issues such as gender equality, environmental sustainability or human rights.
  • Examine the intersection of art and fashion, highlighting local fashion designers who draw inspiration from art and collaborate with artists.
  • Uncover hidden stories within the art world, such as issues of authenticity, plagiarism and ethical concerns surrounding art production and trade.
  • Cover and critique locally-produced television shows, series and productions, offering insights into storytelling, acting and production quality.
  • Feature and analyse the work of scriptwriters, exploring their unique styles, thematic focus and contributions to the film and television industry.
  • Investigate the policies, regulations, and practices governing the arts sector, examining their impact on artists, cultural institutions and the broader creative community.
  • Explore issues surrounding freedom of expression within the artistic community, examining how artists navigate societal norms, censorship, and the boundaries of creative expression.
  • Highlight specific artworks or artists that have sparked controversy due to their content, style or message. Analyse the debates and discussions surrounding these pieces, shedding light on differing perspectives within the society.
  • Report on the impact of social media platforms on the dissemination and reception of local art. Explore how artists and art institutions utilise social media platforms to reach wider audiences, showcase their work and engage with followers.
  • Delve into the legal aspects of the arts, exploring issues related to intellectual property, copyright infringement and the protection of artists’ creative rights.
ACME Mwalimu

The African Centre for Media Excellence's training unit, known as ACME Mwalimu, scours news platforms and online resources to curate the best training tips and resources for journalists and media organisations, empowering them to become impactful contributors to public debate and development. If you have a training tip or question, you can reach out to ACME Mwalimu at training[at]acme-ug.org.

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