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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

Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series Presents "The Erotic as Power: Sexuality and the Black Experience"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The erotic is often seen as a realm of oppression and danger. But, as Audre Lorde argued 40 years ago, it also contains the potential for empowerment and struggle. This tension will be explored as the 39th annual Marion Thompson Wright (MTW) Lecture Series brings together eminent scholars and performers to examine the poltical and social lives of the erotic in the African American experience.
West Windsor Arts Council presents Faculty Student Show
(PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ) -- Every day students of all ages come to the West Windsor Arts Center to expand their knowledge and experiment with art and creativity. Whether they are adults or children, they take classes in order to try something new or hone their skills by learning from some of the best teaching artists in the region. Classes are offered in many artistic media including painting, drawing, and sculpting as well as fashion design, photography and the literary and performing arts. The annual Faculty Student Show aims to provide the experience of submitting and preparing their work for a professional exhibition as well.
Monmouth University Hosts Artist Talk with Sherrill Roland about "The Jumpsuit Project"
(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University will host artist Sherrill Roland  on Tuesday, January 29 at 4:30pm in Wilson Hall Auditorium, to discuss his socially engaged artwork The Jumpsuit Project — that he uses to ignite conversations around issues related to mass incarceration.
Art House Productions Presents 13th Annual Snow Ball Gala
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Join Art House Productions and presenting sponsor SILVERMAN for their 13th Annual Snow Ball Gala on Saturday, January 26th, 2018 from 7:00pm- 12:00am with VIP beginning at 6:00pm (Snow date: Saturday, February 2nd) at Art House’s location at the Cast Iron Lofts, 262 17th St, Jersey City, NJ.  This year’s Snow Ball features live music from Cook Thugless ("Cook Thugless are one of the coolest bands in New Jersey." -Bob Makin, My Central Jersey), live and silent auctions from Grandstand Sports, including sports memorabilia, local art pieces, and exclusive weekend getaways.
Palette ArtSpace Presents "Cold Pop!" with Robert Piersanti and Faustine Badrichani
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Palette ArtSpace presents "Cold Pop!" by Robert Piersanti, now through January 27. The exhibit brings a touch of summer to a cold January with paintings of mermaids, surfers and more. Piersant's work features 1950s and 1960s pop culture with locals as subjects. He's shown work from the local area to Miami and Milan.  The exhibit also features new paintings of women by Faustine Badrichani, a French artist in New York who has shown at Palette previously. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public.

Inside New Jersey Stage Magazine Issue 54
(BELMAR, NJ) -- The latest issue of New Jersey Stage magazine contains something for every arts fan.  Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, John Oates, is the cover story in an issue packed with music, film, theatre, and art coverage.  The issue is available for free at 
Nick Kiefer In Iceland
Nick Kiefer is an award winning graphic designer and photographer based out of Asbury Park, NJ. He is currently the Art Director at Netwave Interactive - a branding and advertising agency in Point Pleasant. NJ. Nick has also been designing and photographing in the NJ music scene for more than half his life. He has designed dozens of record covers and gig posters for local musicians in the Asbury Park area. After a heavy year packed with work, he and his fiancé Kristina, decided to roam around Iceland for a few weeks back in October of 2018. Here are some photos from the trip.
Peter Max Remembers Frank Sinatra
(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- As fans of Frank Sinatra across the world remember the legendary entertainer on what would have been his 103th birthday (December 12th), pop artist Peter Max provides a series of portraits of 'Ol' Blue Eyes' at different points throughout his career. Max, with a 5 decades-long career of his own, created these signature, vibrantly colored portraits, working with the Sinatra family to celebrate the Sinatra Centennial in 2015. They remain a fan favorite at gallery shows across the country.
Jerry Gant 1961-2018
Jerry, There is no bio that will seem complete for you. Where would it be listed, amongst your numerous and diverse accomplishments, that you talked to people, always seemed to find time for the younger artists, to talk to them and look at their sketchbooks? Your use of language as a material, testing limits, associations, and possibilities.
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.

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events

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