The Silver Awards for this year's Arts Journalism Awards have been announced and from this list, Gold Award winners, together with the overall 'Arts Journalist of the Year', will be announced in Grahamstown on 6 July 2014.
These awards are being presented for the second time in 2014, with entries needing to be published or broadcast in the 2013 calendar year to qualify. In identifying excellence, expertise and creativity, it is hoped the awards will promote the practice of arts and cultural journalism, strengthen its national profile and celebrate its importance, range, diversity, fluidity and vitality.
The National Arts Festival and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) received submissions drawn from across the media spectrum: text (print and online), images (photography) and audio/video material (radio, television, podcasts, vodcasts and other digital content). Quality work
"It is heartening to see that our arts journalists deliver quality work day after day, even though some publications are cutting back on the amount of coverage they give the arts. This augers well for a future where digital media is poised to dominate, as consumer passion for quality content remains high. Time has become the single most valuable commodity of our generation and we are confident that readers will continue to invest it in seeking out those who nurture creativity and excellence in their reporting. We salute those journalists who are determined to keep delivering that creativity and excellence," says Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival.
BASA CEO Michelle Constant adds, "The challenge for arts journalists in this country is growing, as we are seeing more arts coverage being cut by major newspapers and broadcasters, although digital media offer new platforms. We believe that this can only negatively affect audience support and growth of the arts. Against these odds, journalists in South Africa continue to offer excellent coverage that highlights the power of arts in our country."
"These Awards aim to recognise the best in South African arts journalism and to celebrate and promote the work of our journalists, but we also want to challenge, to provoke and to encourage innovation," says convenor of the judging panel, Prof Chris Thurman. "Linked to this is the broader question of transformation in the sector; we note with some concern the lack of representivity and diversity in the pool of entrants (in terms of age, race, gender and journalistic medium) and, whether or not this is indicative of industry demographics, we plan to address such concerns in future. While we were disappointed that the number of entrants was marginally down from last year, the judging panel once again found ample evidence of the quality, breadth and depth of local arts journalism."
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Gold Award winners will receive cash prizes, and the overall Arts Journalist of the Year will be will be invited to travel with a South African production to an international Festival in the next year.