Syracuse University establishes first accredited master’s degree program in arts journalism
Syracuse University establishes first accredited master’s degree program in arts journalismJuly 27, 2004Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
Syracuse University has announced the establishment of the first master’s degree journalism program at an accredited journalism school to focus exclusively on writing about the arts, to be administered by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in collaboration with The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Performing and Visual Arts and the School of Architecture. The Goldring Arts Journalism Program is made possible by a generous gift from arts patron and SU Trustee Lola Goldring and her husband Allen Goldring. Johanna Keller, an arts journalist and Newhouse faculty member, has been appointed director of the program. The program begins in July 2005.
While a few general cultural reporting and some short-term mid-career enhancement programs exist throughout the United States, this is the first program from an accredited university to grant a degree in arts journalism.
“This is an important step down the two-way street between the arts and higher education,” says Nancy Cantor, Chancellor-Elect of SU. “Universities nurture culture and the creative process, while the arts help us create contexts of exchange between people and ideas.”
The aim of the Goldring Arts Journalism program is to deepen arts journalists’ knowledge of specific art forms and building writing and journalism skills. In addition, students will gain a broad background in the arts. Through the development of research and publication projects, the program also aims to create a locus of investigation into the role of arts journalism in today’s media, as well as the nature of the relationship between the arts and criticism, and the arts and its audience.
“The arts are the embodiment of a society’s values, anxieties and aspirations,” says Newhouse Dean David Rubin. “By writing about the arts, a journalist can address concerns that are aesthetic, historical, economic, social and political in nature. Arts writing includes some of the most important and pertinent journalism of today. The Newhouse School has a history of innovative journalism programs and we are especially proud to be the first to take the step of establishing an arts journalism program. We are particularly pleased that this program brings together the excellent faculty of four of SU’s nationally recognized colleges and schools, in what is truly a cross-disciplinary degree.”
The intensive 12-month MA program begins July 2005. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2005. The program offers concentrations in five areas-architecture, film, fine arts, music and theater. Students will create their own unique curricula to meet their educational objectives.
“Arts journalists traditionally come to their profession either from an arts or a journalism background,” says Keller. “So, in creating the first arts journalism program, we wanted to give artists the opportunity to gain journalism skills, and journalists the chance to deepen their knowledge of an art form. The students will be able to gain the specific skills and knowledge they need to become effective architecture critics for instance, or music journalists, or film reviewers.”
In creating their own curricula, students will choose from an array of graduate courses in journalism and the arts, led by a diverse faculty of working journalists, artists and academics with advanced knowledge in their fields. Five SU professors-one from each discipline-will teach a class in critical writing and will act as subject advisors to the students. The five associated faculty members are: Pedro Cuperman (film), Daniel Godfrey (music), Mark Linder (architecture), Mary Lou Marien (fine arts) and Craig McDonald (theatre). The 36-credit Masters Degree in Arts Journalism is completed in residence at SU and will include newly created required core courses in arts journalism.
During winter breaks, students will attend 10-day arts-immersion trips to New York City, including attendance at theater and music performances, film screenings, museum and gallery tours, architectural site visits, symposia, lectures and encounters with artists and administrators at major arts institutions. Students will also participate in workshops conducted by special guest faculty. For 2006, the visiting faculty will include Tim Griffin, editor-in-chief of Artforum magazine; Robert Ivy Jr., editor-in-chief of Architectural Record; Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer-Prize-winning theater critic of The New York Times; Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker; and David Sterritt, film critic for The Christian Science Monitor. The program will conclude with a capstone writing workshop with a nationally-known editor during May and June. Students will also participate in internships at newspapers or magazines.
“The Newhouse School tradition is to give journalism students as much skills training and practical experience as possible,” says Keller, “as well as to provide access to professional media networks. This is all the more important for arts journalists, who will compete in an intensive and specialized job market. Our goal is to give these selected arts journalists the edge with journalism skills and arts knowledge so that they can write critically, informatively and compellingly about the arts of the future.”
In one of the first high-profile events marking the launch of the program, SU will host a national symposium Nov. 19-20, 2004, titled “Writing About the Arts: The Critics, Craft and Education, ” with a host of nationally-known writers and artists, and a keynote speech by the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia. The full lineup and details will be announced in the fall.
For more information on the Goldring Arts Journalism Program, application information and updates on the symposium, visit http://artsjournalism.syr.edu/.