Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies - A Program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
What is the Focus of Arts-and-Culture Content in Newspapers?

According to Reporting the Arts II, a study of U.S. newspaper content conducted by the National Arts Journalism Program in October 2003, movies and music are the arts-and-culture disciplines that receive the most journalistic attention, both in terms of the "newshole" (the column inches of newspaper space that have not been reserved for paid advertisements) and the quantity of articles printed. Across 20 daily newspapers examined, articles about movies accounted for 22% of the arts-and-culture newshole and 23% of the arts-and-culture articles printed. Music articles were 20% of the arts-and-culture newshole and 23% of the articles printed.

Pie chart: The Arts-and Culture Newshole - 2003: Arts-and-culture topics, as a percentage of total article space.

Pie chart: Newspaper Coverage of Arts and  Culture - 2003: Arts-and-culture topics, as a percentages of all arts-and culture articles.

The journalistic attention a topic receives does not necessarily reflect a topic’s overall prominence in newspapers, though. In addition to printing articles, such as movie reviews, newspapers devote significant space to listings' the "when and where" aspects of arts-and-culture. Listings accounted for close to half (45%) of the arts-and-culture newshole among the twenty newspapers examined in Reporting the Arts II.

Pie chart: Newspaper Coverage of Arts and Culture - 2003: Articles vs. listings, as a percentage of total arts-and-culture newshole

When total arts-and-culture coverage is considered, the most prominent arts-and-culture discipline in U.S. newspapers is not movies, but television. While articles about television amount to just 10% of the arts-and-culture newshole, the total television coverage (both articles and listings) occupied more than a quarter (27%) of the newshole.

Bar graph: The Arts-and-Culture Newshole - 2003: Arts-and culture topics, as percentages of total newshole and total artical space.


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