12 May 2016

Cuts, cuts, cuts

I'm trying to catch up on reviews, but am distracted by FB and Twitter being full of rumours (until Monday's OzCo embargo) of arts companies losing funding, and people furious about the Fairfax cuts that have slashed arts coverage at The Age.

Nearly four weeks ago, arts coverage at The Age was halved. I was worried by how few people noticed. #FairGoFairfax

Freelancers were told before it happened. There are a lot of us. I wonder if those making the cuts even read the work of the many freelancers who have lost work.

And, of course, there are the staff members who have been moved around or made redundant.

It sucks on every level.

Who wants to read a newspaper (printed or online) that isn't created by experienced writers and editors?

And it's not just that people have lost work – as one of them, it sucks  –, but it's also the loss of a diversity of voices and opportunities for small and independent companies and artists to get coverage.

Why review a show that a few hundred people see when it costs nothing to link to a story about a celebrity that more people will read?

Have a look at today's online front page. A few weeks ago, the three featured arts stories were likely to have been reviews of local shows; today it's Game of Thrones, Woody Allen (ugh) and Angry Birds.

Thursdays are good arts days in print, but there isn't a single theatre review or story in today's paper.

So what can we do?

If you're an artist, creator or company that has benefitted from coverage in The Age, let Fairfax know what that coverage has meant to you and the impact that it's had. Even if it's just a "thanks" tweet.

If you read arts coverage in The Age, let Fairfax know that you want to read about the arts in Melbourne.

Tweet, Facebook, email, sky write.

Let The Age know that you want to read about the arts that are made in this city.

And remember that it's not the Arts Editor who has made these cuts.

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