5 Finalist for NAJP Summit

Outstanding examples of entrepreneurial cultural journalism
competing for $15,000 in prize money in today’s National Summit on Arts Journalism at USC.

The summit is streaming live at www.najp.org/summit and simulcast at 17 satellite locations around the world (listed below).

Of the 109 submissions to the open call for projects demonstrating entrepreneurial cultural journalism, ten examples will be highlighted with video presentations on the day of the summit. Five of these ten are finalists in a competition to find the best use of new technology in the exploration of arts journalism. Each of the finalists have already earned $2,000, and the first-, second- and third-prize winners will split $15,000 in prize money courtesy of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Online voting for the winning project will take place October 2–23 by members of the NAJP and alumni of the four NEA Arts Journalism Institutes fellowship programs –American University (visual arts), Columbia University (classical music and opera), the American Dance Festival at Duke University (dance) and USC Annenberg School for Communication (theater and musical theater). The winners will be announced October 30.

Adobeairstream.com submitted, but did not make the top ten, though we’ve heard from Doug McLennan that our proposal and site was well liked by the judges. Also, as a participant in the NEA International Arts Journalism Institute in the Visual Arts, I will be voting on the final projects.

The five finalists are:

1) Departures
Presented at the summit by Juan Devis, artist and producer
KCET, Los Angeles
Link: www.kcet.org/local/departures/la_river

Departures is an experiment in nonlinear community storytelling in the form of a multimedia Web site. The video is shot by KCET producers and students from partner schools in the neighborhoods, and users experience projects through multiple entry points and navigation pathways on the site. Departures suggests a different way of telling the stories of cultures that haven’t found a voice in traditional journalism. Artist Juan Devis has developed an interactive form of journalism that captures the diversity of life in neighborhoods.

2) Flavorpill
Presented at the summit by Mark Mangan, CEO
New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Chicago
Link: www.flavorpill.com

Flavorpill is a 21st-century version of the city guide, sorting through hundreds of events each week to make a case for the 25 events in each city its writers believe are worthy of attention. Flavorpill started as an e-mail publisher and has grown to thousands of subscribers and millions of dollars in annual revenues. Revenue comes from advertising, but Flavorpill has also developed an unusual business model allowing venues to set up their own pages on the Web site and write about their own events alongside the site’s own editorial staff.

3) FLYPMedia
Presented at the summit by Jim Gaines, editor-in-chief
New York
Link: www.flypmedia.com

FLYP is an independent media startup trying to reinvent the magazine online, not just by posting print/image/sound/video content to a Web site, but by rethinking what digital storytelling and the next-generation magazine might become. FLYP’s origins are anchored in the physicality of the traditional magazine. Text is important, but image, sound, and video also take turns in the lead. FLYP demonstrates that a general-culture publication can be a compelling window on culture. Its editor, Jim Gaines, was formerly chief editor of People, Life and Time magazines.

4) Glasstire
Presented at the summit by Rainey Knudson, founder
Link: www.glasstire.com

Glasstire is a Web site about visual art in Texas. The site is not a comprehensive report on the visual arts, but as critics have always done, Glasstire argues for a way of seeing art in a region that is different from art made elsewhere. Glasstire is almost nine years old, operates as a nonprofit, and has developed a core of 35-40 writers around the state, all of whom are paid for their work. Knudson says the site is stable and self-sustaining, with traffic continuing to increase. This is a model for arts journalism that should be replicated in other states.

5) San Francisco Classical Voice
Presented at the summit by Patty Gessner, executive producer
San Francisco
Link: http://www.sfcv.org

San Francisco Classical Voice was created in 1998 when prominent classical music journalist Robert Commanday feared that cutbacks in newspaper coverage would hurt the local classical music scene. His Web site offering comprehensive local coverage has become the go-to resource for finding out about artists, organizations and events. The site’s professional writers include a mix of expert academics, journalists and artists. The site is a nonprofit, self-sustained by local donations from foundations, corporations and individuals, and by selling ads and memberships.

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