Friday, 6 December 2013

Mind your language - artists and the media

by Jon Cronshaw

Why do some artists receive good media coverage while others are completely ignored?

Jon Cronshaw explains why getting coverage in the press has nothing to do with talent or quality.


Artists often complain that their work is overlooked or ignored by the mainstream media – there is a very simple reason for this: artists need to mind their language.

Over the past few years I've been working as a freelance journalist, writing arts and culture pieces for a variety of publications including national and regional newspapers.

Being a journalist isn't the easiest job in the world – there's always a lot to get done and not enough time to do it.

Artists can help journalists, and moreover themselves, by empathising with the pressures that journalists are under.

So if your innovative and ground-breaking exhibition gets ignored, but the local watercolour society get a double-page feature piece, you have to ask yourself why.

The simple fact is that watercolours of ducks and trees are easier to explain than something which is more philosophical or obscure.

This is where the artist can help – if they are clear, concise and avoid art speak, they may be in with a chance of getting their work featured.

It's a simple case of knowing your audience – not everyone went to art school, and most journalists don't know what words like 'architectonic', 'performative' and 'metanarrative' mean, and they probably don't have time to find out.

Imagine you're trying to explain your work to a child – that's probably not a bad starting point.

Have you had success dealing with the media? Leave comments below to share your experiences.

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