We’ve said it before and sadly, we’re still banging on about it. As tax-payer funded arts companies and organisations devote increasing marketing budgets to Google, Facebook and their own marketing websites, arts journalism is still on a life line.
Ironically, last May the Confederation of Australian State Theatre Companies (CAST) wrote an open letter to Fairfax Media asking for it to reverse its decision to “reduce arts coverage and loss of experienced arts editorial staff across mastheads The Age and Sydney Morning Herald“. It didn’t work.
But Daily Review faces the same challenges many other smaller publications do, and have done, (RealTime closed at the end of 2017), in trying to survive at a time when independent arts commentary, critique and debate is disappearing.
When we launched Daily Review in late 2013 our goal was to connect audiences with the arts and entertainment industry. It’s something we believe is important, and something we believe we do well, which is why our audience (90 per cent of whom do not work in the arts) measures about 150,000 unique visitors a month. And last year we were proud to have been nominated for an inaugural Walkley Award for Arts Journalism.
Over the last four years, we’ve led coverage of issues affecting Australian arts and culture, from the age of Brandis and the shut down of his Catalyst escapade which we reported first, to Sydney’s lockout laws, Sydney Theatre Company’s upheavals, the debate over Australia’s Venice Biennale choices, the behind the scenes industrial issues at Opera Australia and the ongoing issue of “inappropriate” behaviour in our theatre workplaces.
We’ve also reviewed a diverse range of performances, books, films, TV shows, and exhibitions from around the country with our respected and often irreverent and provocative contributors. At the same time, we’ve done what we can by supporting the not for profit community organisations, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Social Studio.
In the past year we have been thankful to have received advertising support from Black Inc publishing, The Production Company, Arts Centre Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, the Australian Ballet, Australian World Orchestra, the National Gallery of Victoria and the indefatigable arts supporter, Clive Scott of the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Hotel – but the majority of our financial support has come from generous readers – and most of whom, believe it or not, do not live in inner-city Melbourne and Sydney but live in suburbs and towns in every state and territory across the country.
Even so, it is not enough to cover the costs of striving to deliver news, views and reviews while shining a light on a wider range of artists, companies and issues that mightn’t get mainstream attention — or likely to ever get a mention on a taxpayer-funded arts website.
That’s why at the beginning of this new year we’re still appealing to those in our audience (which includes the 10 per cent of our audience who are employed by our subsidised arts companies and institutions!) who might not have got around to helping us invest further in arts journalism, critique and commentary, or those who have watched the slow decline of arts journalism in mainstream and and other independent media in the last year with alarm.
You’ll still see the Support Daily Review button (the one sitting just to the right) popping up across the site. If you like what you’re reading, that’s a cue to click through and help us out. And if you vehemently disagree, but enjoy how a good debate makes your blood boil, why not send a couple of dollars our way to keep it up? As our columnist Helen Razer asked here: if you don’t support arts journalism, who will?
Please visit the Daily Review support page where you can become a supporter and help arts journalism thrive. Anyone who donates more than $15 will receive a copy of the first (so far) Daily Review magazine. And if you’re feeling flush, buy a limited signed John Kelly etching for a special reduced price courtesy of the artist and Australian Galleries who believe in supporting independent voices — with all proceeds going to fund our arts journalism and our plans to launch a $2000 visual arts writing prize this year.