Understanding Cultural Journalism

Content developed by Sheetal Pandey


The primary concern of cultural journalism with arts and creative work, and with the individuals, institutions and policies that make or enable that work. The arts are usually understood to include literature, visual arts, music, film, theater and dance, photography, architecture, and design.

There has been increased recognition in the 21st century of the economic contribution of the arts sector to jobs, growth, tourism, exports and development, and as a means of solving social problems and transmitting values.

Trend & Fragmentation in Journalism

Recent worries about the state of professional journalism include reporting on arts and culture. Increased competition between the media, the fragmentation of media audiences, and the dwindling readership of print newspapers seem to result in more efficient news production and a trend towards lifestyle or service journalism. In cultural journalism, this seemingly translates into a focus on news and entertainment instead of serious art criticism, catering to the needs of the reader.

Scholars have demonstrated a shift towards treating cultural products as consumer commodities instead of cultural artifacts and the growing presence of journalistic instead of an aesthetic approach to arts journalism. This might be related to trends in the profession of cultural journalists, as younger generations seem to enter the profession via degree programs in journalism or media studies instead of extended study in the humanities.

Film’s Cultural Coverage

The film, in particular, is seen as a form of popular culture that comes out of the culture wars a winner, having become rather dominant in the newspaper’s cultural coverage. Film’s ascent on the cultural ladder has been well mapped. The idea that film can be viewed as art is widely accepted, yet far from all movies are granted this title. This raises the questions of which type of film has raised to such prominence in the press and whether this rise should even simply be interpreted as an increased focus on pop culture.

What is cultural journalism
cultural journalism

When writing about cinema, film journalists devote articles to movies by prestigious directors to a growing extent over the year, this percentage doubles between 1955 and 1975, peaks in the 1970s and then stays at around 30 percent in the following decades. This trend is more salient in the European papers than in the US but is consistent over time. We expected this to be countered by a development in the opposite direction in the late twentieth century but did not find any increase in coverage commercially successful moviemakers. In fact, in the overall data-set, prestigious filmmakers have a large share than their more commercial rivals from 1975 onwards?

Research on cultural journalism

International research on cultural journalism as a subfield has been complicated by its varying designations and its numerous aesthetic forms, disciplines or type of culture, all of which are changing over time. New research on this subject appears to focus on the longitudinal changes in cultural journalism, the implications of digitalization and globalization, and cultural journalism in broadcasting.

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