Threat to Liverpool Arts Press Coverage?
Liverpool’s leading morning newspaper is reported as intending to cut back significantly on its Arts coverage, which will it is claimed no longer only be ‘ghettoised’ on one page. How does this fit with Liverpool’s forthcoming status as European Capital of Culture 2008? And will the same rationale now be made for rescuing Sport from ‘ghettoisation’?
It seems that Liverpool is about to reduce its newspaper Arts coverage substantially. A report in the UK Press Gazette on Thursday (13 October) suggests that daily coverage in the city’s leading ‘serious’ paper is to be reduced from five to two days a week, the Friday art supplement is to be eight, not sixteen pages, and three paid columnists will be axed. The rationale is apparently that the Arts will no longer be ‘ghettoised on a specific page each day’.
There also seems to be a suggestion that this change is somehow linked with increased sales and prices.
Confusion exists about exactly how this reduction in specific coverage will be aligned alongside the claim of all concerned to be supporting Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture Year in 2008. If reporting and reviews of cultural events are cut, this must inevitably have an effect on readers’ awareness of cultural activities in and around the city – which includes a readership area reaching out to Chester, North Wales and parts of Lancashire.
It is likely that, in the possible absence of expert opinion on arts topics, only a small part of Liverpool’s cultural offering could be covered; and almost certainly those organisations which stand to lose out the most (alongside their patrons) are the smaller, specialist arts organisations.
When we also read that Sport is not to be ‘ghettoised’ on particular pages, perhaps the case for rescuing the Arts from such a fate will be more convincing.