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WITH SUPPORT FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS, the National Arts Journalism Program, based at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, will host an institute for journalists specializing in coverage of classical music and opera in October 2004.

This training seminar is part of a national initiative, the NEA Arts Journalism Institute. A program for journalists who cover the theatre is being hosted by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The American Dance Festival at Duke University will host a program for journalists who focus on dance.

The Institutes are a joint venture between the NEA and leading educational institutions to bring journalists who cover the performing arts into contact with great performances in major arts centers, supplemented by lectures and course work with distinguished faculty and professionals, to provide basic skills of arts criticism and an understanding of the history and fundamental concepts of classical music, opera and other performing arts. The Endowment, in support of the arts in the United States, is the founding grantor. The host universities are designing the curricula for their respective programs.

At Columbia University, the Institute on classical music and opera will be overseen by the National Arts Journalism Program at the Graduate School of Journalism. It will encompass 11 nights and 10 full days of instruction. Participants will arrive in New York City no later than Sunday, October 17th and depart no sooner than Thursday, October 28th. Detailed guidelines appear below.

Institute participants may choose to take part (at their own expense) at a symposium on classical music criticism being hosted at Columbia by the NAJP immediately preceding the NEA Institute, on Oct. 15-17th, in partnership with the Music Critics Association of North America, the American Music Center, and Columbia's Department of Music and Miller Theatre.

Up to 25 journalists - critics and reporters specializing in classical music and opera, as well as editors who supervise them - will be selected for the Institute this year. (The program will be repeated for an additional 25 journalists in the 2005-06 academic year.)

The Institute is designed primarily for journalists at news organizations outside the nation's six to ten top culture centers. Such organizations are often limited in their ability to make in-depth coverage of the arts a budget priority or to find permanent places for trained arts specialists on their staffs. A number of journalists who cover the various performing arts also function as general assignment critics or reporters. Others split multiple art beats. Others are freelance writers.

Beyond our nation's cultural and media centers, classical music and opera enjoy their own vibrance. But the extraordinary proliferation in recent years of local and regional orchestras, performing arts venues, and front-rank traveling productions - not to mention the hundreds of audio recordings that are released annually - has placed unprecedented demands on journalists in all parts of the United States.

Some journalists assigned to write about opera and classical music have not received specialized training to prepare them to make informed critical judgments, or report with acuity on trends in the performing arts. Irrespective of levels of training or experience, all arts journalists face challenges in mastering the accelerating flow of news and ideas in their field - and rarely do they receive support from their newsrooms to travel beyond their home communities.

There is common consensus in the field that many critics would benefit from first-hand exposure to the essential elements of classical music and opera, and from learning how basic journalism skills can be applied to music criticism for the benefit of their readers.

Meanwhile, many cities have invested in new performing arts venues as a spur to economic development. New community-based arts organizations and amateur arts groups, reflecting shifting patterns in urban demographics, supplement the established arts scene. Classical operas are being re-invented with new technologies and innovative stage design. Composers are utilizing the capabilities of the computer and artists are blending traditional and contemporary genres with often surprising results. But while the performing arts continue to draw on new sources of energy and inspiration, the recession of the last few years has clouded the prospects of many worthy projects. Thus, artists and arts presenters face critical choices, and the journalists who cover them are challenged both to master the aesthetic and historical aspects of their craft and to report on the complex institutional dynamics of their field.

Art offers us a way to understand ourselves and, even more important, those around us. It reflects social mores, challenges cultural stagnancy, sparks creativity and propels the human mind to ever-greater levels of achievement. Today art is commodity, too, a product intertwined with global commerce, culture and politics. For this reason, the journalists who interpret and report on artistic expression and trends undertake an increasingly important task: to present readers with accurate information and thoughtful criticism that give context, vibrancy and meaning to the arts that shape and reflect society.

The Institute will yield multiple advantages for both the participants and the news organizations that employ them. Better informed and trained classical music and opera coverage offers readers, listeners and viewers more exciting choices for arts participation. A range of information and commentary about the arts is available through national news media, but nothing serves as a substitute for high-quality, well-informed arts journalists working closest to home. Informed arts coverage encourages people to think more creatively about their own cultural horizons, and strengthens news organizations' ability to lead the way in stimulating the cultural and civic vitality of their communities.

The National Arts Journalism Program, now in its tenth year of operation is the country's leading provider of mid-career training for working reporters, critics and editors. In addition, the NAJP is a think-tank that serves arts journalism with a full range of research, conferences and publications. Under the guidance of the NAJP, the Institute participants will go through an intensive schedule of classroom and off-campus activities, including:

Classwork: Daily sessions taught by Columbia University faculty and invited experts. Topics include: historical overview of classical music and opera; music in the United States; basic concepts in composition; arts policy and funding; new artistic developments - complemented by written and online materials made available to seminar attendees.

Musical Training: Participants will learn the fundamentals of conducting, voice, and at least one instrument in studio classes led by accomplished musicians. Performances: Participants will attend performances on each day of the program at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the New York Philharmonic, Miller Theatre and other leading New York classical-music presenting institutions. Workshops: Participants will write reviews and reported articles based on a visited performance or other Institute activities. The articles will be discussed in workshops supervised by leading classical music journalists. Talks and Site Visits: Participants will meet with artists, critics and experts, and travel off-site to cultural and news organizations for behind-the-scenes tours and meetings with administration and staff.

Networking: Participants will meet with some of the NAJP's 126 alumni fellows and gather informally with invited members of the New York City arts and press communities.

A typical day of the Institute will involve morning classroom sessions on criticism, reporting, music history, policy issues, etc; a midday visit to a rehearsal, workshop or a meeting with administrators of a music presenting organization; and attendance at an evening performance, followed by a conversation with artists.

Faculty and consultants to the Institute will include members of Columbia University's distinguished faculty in arts and journalism, as well as some of the leading voices in classical music journalism in America, including Pulitzer Prize winning Newsday critic Justin Davidson, classical music radio producer and NAJP alumna Anya Grundmann, classical music critic and historian and NAJP alumnus
Horowitz, New York Times senior cultural correspondent John Rockwell, and others. At Columbia, the Institute will draw on the collaboration of the Department of Music, chaired by Elaine Sisman, president of the American Musicological Society, and the Miller Theatre and its executive director, George Steel.

General Guidelines
For successful applicants, most costs of the 11-night residency will be covered by the Institute. The program does not offer a stipend or per diem. Where applicable, the participant's employer may offer an additional per diem to the successful applicant to complement the terms set forth below. In addition to courses, lectures and discussions, Institute participants will receive:
· Travel to and from the Institute (coach class if by air; travel to and from the airport is the participant's responsibility)
· Accommodation in New York (at a university residence or hotel)
· Printed and online materials to support the class activities
· Meals (breakfast and lunch provided on all days, some dinners may be the participant's responsibility)
· Tickets to Institute-related music performances
· Travel to most Institute-related meetings and events
· Certificate of attendance

Participants are responsible for their own health insurance. No additional support is provided for housing for spouses or children. Institute participants will be expected to be in New York City during the entire length of the program and attend all scheduled activities.

Upon completion of the Institute, participants will be required to fill out a program evaluation. We will ask that participants commit to make a formal presentation to their editors and staff, where applicable, to share the skills and benefits they gained by attending the seminar. Selection Criteria Participants will be selected by a committee comprised of an NAJP representative and consultants to the Institute.

Eligible candidates will be expected to have at least two years of professional journalism experience. The Institutes are not intended for entry-level journalists, students or journalism educators.

Candidates may be critics, reporters or editors for a newspaper, magazine, journal, broadcast media or new-media organization in communities that are not among the nation's leading arts centers. Advanced degrees or specialized training in classical music or opera are not required. Free-lancers with a significant body of work are eligible to apply, if their application is accompanied by a letter of nomination and recommendation by a newsroom editor/manager at an organization that regularly publishes or broadcasts their work. The guidelines recognize that in many newsrooms, especially smaller ones, journalists who cover classical music and opera can dedicate only a portion of their duties to these fields.

Applicants must show that classical music and opera are of strong professional interest, or that they supervise journalistic coverage of those fields. Exception will be made only on the basis of a letter submitted by a nominating newsroom editor/manager indicating that the applicant is participating in the Institute as a preparation for assuming responsibilities in covering classical music or opera.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose professional activity is focused on arts journalism within the United States. The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes intend to achieve the widest possible geographic distribution of participants from throughout the United States. Please note: Candidates are discouraged from applying simultaneously for seminars at USC, Columbia and Duke Universities. Applicants should apply for the program that best meets their professional needs and qualifications. Application Process The application deadline for the October 2004 Institute is August 14th. (Applications postmarked on that day are eligible.) An application form will be made available to candidates on request. All those interested in applying for the Institute are encouraged to contact the NAJP as soon as possible concerning their candidacy. Do not send any materials prior to receiving an application form. In addition to the application form, applicants will be asked to submit the following:
· A brief statement of purpose outlining the applicant's current responsibilities, journalism experience, career goals, and reasons for participating in the Institute (max. 500 words).
· Work samples: Three published articles, edited arts pages, radio reports or TV segments.
· Letters of Recommendation: One letter from editors/manager who has supervised the applicant's work is required, commenting on the applicant's journalistic qualifications and potential to benefit from the program.

For journalists on staff
The letter must include a statement that the applicant's news organization will grant him or her a two-week leave of absence with pay he or she is accepted into the program, and will cover all non-seminar expenses. For more information or to request an application form, direct correspondence to:
Aileen Torres (NEA Seminars)
National Arts Journalism Program
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
MC 7200, 2950 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
T: 212.854.1912
F: 212.854.8129
E: aev13@columbia.edu

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