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Letter From The Publisher: The Future of Arts Journalism

By Gary Wien

In the past year, many arts leaders have joined in a debate about the future of arts journalism. It's easy to see the writing on the wall. Newspapers have been laying off writers (especially those covering the arts) for years and are struggling to survive. Meanwhile, a movement towards Internet based blogs and digital publications has clearly taken root. Unfortunately, many arts leaders still cling to the idea that the best way to get news coverage and promote their shows is to find ways to work with traditional media rather than to support new media.

This is a shortsighted plan and one that does not account for future growth. The key to any arts organization, whether a theatre group or a venue, is finding and building a sustainable audience. Traditional newspapers may currently have larger audiences, but print media is not a long-term solution anymore.

Think about this for a minute. Kids in junior high or high school may never buy a newspaper in their lifetime.

As recently as two or three years ago you probably saw newspaper boxes on street corners, but those boxes are largely gone today. Many newspapers are trying to replace print boxes with website paywalls that force readers to purchase subscriptions in order to read more than say ten or twelve articles a month. This runs counter to the fact that kids today are growing up with much of the Internet available for free. When they come across a site with a paywall they're likely to simply go somewhere else — that is if they aren't getting their news from RSS feeds or links from websites like or their Facebook newsfeed anyway. If they are reading the news online, chances are they're reading the news at Google or Yahoo instead of a newspaper site.

One of the keys for arts promotion these days is recognizing that the majority of people will no longer come from the “front door,” but from search engines. Traditionally newspapers and magazines have sold ads on premium pages — those expected to get the best results because they were either inside or back covers or located early on. Premium pages do not exist in the new media world. Ads on the main page of a website are no better than those located throughout because search engines bring the traffic, not a website's home page.

Another key for arts promotion involves reaching the mobile audience. Some people think that only teens are surfing the web on the phone, which is ridiculous. More and more adults are using their smartphones as their main gateway to the web these days. Chances are you do as well. Meanwhile, mobile advertising has generally been difficult because the ads are so small.

A few months back, a popular comedy club in New Jersey asked its customers on Facebook how they learned about events. The survey results are obviously skewed in favor of those who learn about events via the Internet, but the responses were revealing. The younger the audience, the less likely they even thought about reading a newspaper. It's a generational gap that is getting wider every year.

As someone who grew up loving newspapers, this hurts. I think most people wish that newspapers would remain around forever, but change has already occurred. Print is simply too expensive and is too outdated for today's times when stories are written and circulated around the clock. Websites and digital publishing (instantly changing newspapers) will undoubtedly replace print sometime in the near future.

Some arts organizations across the country have gone so far as to purchase editorial space simply to keep traditional newspapers relevant. Rather than struggle with archaic life-support, why not advance with the mission of new media? To work with publications and websites that devote all or most of their editorial to the arts rather than a tiny percentage? To work with those who embrace technology rather than fear it? To reach out to a younger mobile audience and grow with the next generation of arts patrons?

As New Jersey Stage wraps up our sixth issue, we believe we have made significant moves in our first year to establish ourselves as a partner of the arts. We have continued to grow every month despite working with a very limited budget. We're not part of a giant media company. We're just people who love the arts and are artists ourselves.

We believe there are better ways to promote events. Instead of stories printed a day or two beforehand, as is traditionally done in newspapers, we think event previews published weeks before will sell more tickets. Not only does it allow for longer promotion, but it reaches people before their plans are made. Likewise, stories in our magazine offer a longer shelf-life as opposed to that of a daily newspaper.

New Jersey Stage magazine is a new media company that looks forward. We are designed for the mobile user with ads that look great on mobile devices and are highly effective. We believe in utilizing the full power of the Internet and take advantage of social media and search engines rather than block their services through ineffective paywalls. And we offer arts organizations the greatest value for their marketing dollars anywhere.

We believe that the best way to promote events is via a series of different ads, which is why advertisers seen in our magazine get ads here as well as online. They also receive complimentary banner ads on as well — all for prices less than they're paying for traditional media. Our ad rates were designed with the arts in mind with prices for every budget. We do this because we're not trying to make a profit, we sincerely want your arts organization and your shows to succeed.

Our goal for 2015 is to continue to grow and to build partnerships with arts organizations across the state. We believe we have something special going on here and we want you to be part of it. Spread the word about this digital magazine and help us grow. The bigger we become, the more people around the state will learn about your arts organization and the great arts community we have in New Jersey.

For more by this author, click here

D&R Greenway Land Trust Presents The Juried Exhibition "Lovely as a Tree"
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- D&R Greenway Land Trust’s juried exhibition, Lovely as a Tree, includes the work of more than 80 artists responding to the words of poet Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see  a poem lovely as a tree.” The artwork is on view November 19, 2018 through January 25, 2019 at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. 
Getting Graphic: Novels, Memoirs & Comics Returns To Visual Arts Center
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- The second annual edition of Getting Graphic: Novels, Memoirs & Comics, will take place at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey on December 1, from 12:00pm–7:00pm. Incredibly popular last year, this free event for all ages will feature graphic novelists, graphic memoirists, and comic book artists showcasing and discussing their work, signing books, and selling merchandise at tables set up throughout the Art Center.
South Jersey Artisans To Take Part In Holiday Gift Boutique In Brigantine
(BRIGANTINE, NJ) -- November is finally here and that means the holidays are right around the corner. The elves are busy getting things ready at the north pole.  In South Jersey, the artists are busy getting unique items together for you to come shop, grab a drink & enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres at the Holiday Gift Boutique on Sunday, December 9th at The Cove Restaurant in Brigantine. The event runs from 1:00pm to 6:00pm.  
Grants Are Now Available for Garden State Organizations from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts
(TRENTON, NJ) -- The New Jersey Council on the Arts has announced grants for New Jersey Arts Organizations to help with General Operating Support (GOS), General Program Support (GPS), and Arts Project Support (APS). The Notice of Intent to Apply is December 4, 2018 and the application deadline is February 13, 2019.  The application will be available in mid-January. State Arts Council staff is available to help with questions specific to your application. Program Officers in each discipline are reachable by telephone and email, or you may schedule an appointment. The schedule of technical assistance webinars will be made available in the near future.  
Barsky Gallery To Host "Rhythms" - A New Duo-art Exhibition
(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- Barsky Gallery in Hoboken will host a new duo-art exhibition – RHYTHMS featuring works of two talented artists, debuting on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 to coincide with the Hoboken Art + Studio Tour scheduled for the same weekend. The exhibition will run through November.

PODCAST: An Artist Asks "The 20 Most Important Scientific Questions Of The 21st Century"
In this podcast, we speak with them about art, activism and how women invented Postmodernism. “The 20 Most Important Scientific Questions of the 21st Century” runs through December 14th at Douglass Library.
Artist Mel Leipzig At 83
We recently met up with artist Mel Leipzig at Artworks in Trenton. He was there to do what he does every day – create big paintings of people he likes. While the Artworks staff went about their business getting the space ready for this year’s Art All Day event, happening this Saturday, Mel pulled a few of them aside to capture them in their natural habitat in acrylic.
Heather Ujiie Explores "Terra Incognita" At Rowan University Art Gallery
“My life’s mission is to challenge myself to go to new places,” said Heather Ujiie, a Bucks County, PA, multimedia artist whose latest work, “Terra Incognita,” is on display at the Rowan University Art Gallery now through November 17, 2018.
Kevin Sampson: Solo Exhibitions In New Jersey and Beyond
“I’m a Civil Rights baby. I grew up laying across picket lines and blocking traffic.” Artist Kevin Sampson’s father, Stephen, was a well-known Civil Rights leader in New Jersey, and he instilled a commitment to community that his son still honors.
Basking Ridge Resident Returns to Matheny to Help Assist in Strategic Planning for 'This Amazing Place'
When Ellen Lambert was director of development at the Matheny School and Hospital in Peapack, NJ, from 1993 to 1995, one of her major achievements was the formation of a fundraising plan for what would eventually become the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center. The concept of Matheny's Arts Access Program  -- which enables people with disabilities to create art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators  -- was emerging in '93, and the arts center was eventually built in 2000.

Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm


Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm

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