The Observer hopes to shine still more light on the arts, beginning this week, through a new partnership with a variety of other local media.
The Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance (CAJA) includes the Observer, public radio station WFAE, television station WCNC and two publications that are solely Web-based, Qcitymetro.com and CharlotteViewpoint.org.
For its launch, this group is being assisted by a grant it won in the Community Arts Journalism Challenge, a national competition sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Our alliance is one of five groups nationally that submitted winning proposals to reinvigorate coverage of the arts in their communities. Each member of the Charlotte alliance will enlist freelance journalists to cover the arts, and then share that content freely with other member organizations.
UNC Charlotte also is a member of this alliance. Its College of Arts and Architecture will develop seminars and courses that could help equip journalists who are new to covering the arts.
The initial grant of $20,000 is being used to pay journalists in an experiment at content sharing, as well as to plan curriculum. The grant is being administered locally through the nonprofit Arts & Science Council (which played no role in the selection of the proposal or its details).
Later this month, the alliance will submit a final proposal to the Knight Foundation and the NEA that could lead to an additional $80,000 in funding.
Our goal is to elevate both the volume and the quality of local arts coverage. By collaborating, we also expect to reach wider audiences, which will only benefit both our community and the arts organizations that aspire to enrich it.