Australians are massive consumers of the arts, so why are our news outlets asleep at the wheel when it comes to reporting on culture?
The question comes from three Melbourne-based artists, Nina Sanadze, Mia Salsjö and Tai Snaith, who have launched a petition calling for the arts to be included in our daily news services.
The ARTS are NEWSworthy petition is calling for all TV channels, particularly SBS and ABC news, to add a permanent and daily art and culture news updates at the end of all news broadcasts, similar to sports news – something the arts community has been calling for for decades.
“This is a long overdue direction for the news services to expand their market share through matching content to consumer demand,” said Sandaze, Salsjö and Snaith.
“We seek substantial arts segments in the daily TV and radio news bulletins. Like sport, the arts are an inspiration to all! We want the arts to be visible in a time that needs to see creativity more than ever.”
Launched a week ago on Change.org, the ARTS are NEWSworthy petition has already attracted more than 7,000 signatures.
The trio behind the petition refer to a 2020 report from The Australia Institute about the economic impact of the arts: “The creative arts make a major contribution to the Australian economy, employing 194,000 Australians and directly contributing $14.7 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, the creative and performing arts employ four times as many people as coal mining, and as many as the finance industry.”
They also refer to a 2018 Live Performance Australia report that showed that combined revenue and attendance of cultural events was greater than revenue and attendance at combined major sporting events.
“This would create a powerful boost to arts industries and will deliver a critical change in the role culture plays in our daily lives,” said arts journalist, broadcaster and Deputy Editor at Arts Hub, Richard Watts, who is one of the signatories of the petition.
“Especially in times like these, when every artist is seriously struggling to find an outlet for their work, this could be life-changing,” said singer/songwriter Missy Higgins.
Other signatories to the petition point to the way the arts reflect society’s trends and concerns, help develop new understanding and empathy, promote mental health and general healthy, celebrate human achievement, and provide hope and inspiration, while one said: “In these challenging times when many artists are feeling invisible and depressed, the time feels right to make a solid and unifying platform for the arts community in the mainstream.”
The ARTS are NEWSworthy petition can be found at Change.org