Recently a colleague of mine that also teaches music but at high school level wrote a letter to the press about the lack of coverage of the high schools spring musical. This production was at a school of very talented students and has had many successful musicals in the past. The only local media outlet that would cover the event was a radio station, TV media outlets would only promote if it was labeled a “fundraiser” and news papers just kept giving her the run around of whom to talk to.
The question my colleague proposed in this letter was, “why is it that high school sports teams and events get automatically covered on a daily basis, and not the Performing Arts?…Why is it that sports are given complete attention, while the good work of students who work together as teams to produce a musical production that features singers, actors, dancers, and technical crews do not get the same? There is a Sports section in all newspapers, and it covers national, state, community and schools sports. Yet, the Arts-Entertainment sections of newspapers only feature entertainment news of movies and star-studded actors and entertainers, local rock or punk bands and concerts at bars, stories of professional musicians working shows at local venues, and occasional stories about local community theater.”
She goes on to explain what some of their arguments might be as to why sports are more supported. I agree with her arguments but I don’t see this being just a small local media issue. I believe that this is greater than local media not covering local arts events, I feel it is also an issue with national media providers.
Think about it how many major networks cover national sporting events? When was the last time a major network had one of the top-tier orchestras or dance companies featured on their programming? Probably never and if they have I bet the chances are high that it was for some sort of Christmas Special. Just to go the TV Guide and search sports, for today alone I found 14 live sporting events being televised, this does not include the stations showing old games and talking statistics and other sports news.
When I searched music and dance on TV Guide I found links to things such as: Dancing with the Stars, Dance Moms, Americas Got Talent. Yes there are a few shows out there (some of which are a bit outrageous) on behalf of the arts world but not many. There are hardly any television channels left that are dedicated to music, even popular music VH1 has more reality shows on it than it does music videos.
I am not saying that they shouldn’t cover sports, they are just as important to our society as music and dance, I am saying that they need to be reported with equity. Here is a link to a blog I found by an avid sports fan and music lover, it just goes to show that both are invaluable.
The next time you come across your local news paper, compare the size of the sports section to that of the arts and leisure. Also look at the quality of the material in the arts section, figure out what percentage of that section is dedicated to arts events in your area. I promise you that there are more arts events happening in your town that you don’t know about. I ask you to encourage your local media (television, radio, and newspaper) to promote local arts events more frequently.