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Arts media cover all bases

Staff Reporter

Ngwako Modjadji

Although e.tv news has not been broadcasting for long, it has proved that age is not important by winning this year’s Arts & Culture Media of the Year Award in support of the arts. E.tv news beat other hopefuls such as Artslink, D’Arts Magazine and SAfm for the award.

Roger Lucey of e.tv news says that when the channel started to cover arts it wanted to show the audience the extent of artists working in this country who have been previously ignored. Lucey says e.tv covers all arts, including craft, equally to get a broad idea of what’s going on in current cultural affairs.

Asked in what direction he sees the arts in broadcasting heading in this country, Lucey said: “I would like to see arts getting more airtime on TV, especially on weekends.”

E.tv is the only channel in the country that places its arts coverage in the context of news, highlighting events on weekdays after its 7pm news bulletin. Lucey anchors the arts from Cape Town, along with Rudzani Dzujudia in Johannesburg.

In the category of Media of the Year, the Arts & Culture Trust has also nominated the Artslink website (www.artslink.co.za). It was launched in 1998 by webmaster TJ de Klerk with the aim of creating a definitive, all-encompassing site linking the many facets of South African arts.

This year, Artslink launched its latest service, ACEwire, providing news, views and reviews written by top arts journalists, including the former Star Tonight editor Darryl Accone. Regular names on the team are Mike van Graan, Gwen Ansell, Paul Boekkooi, William Pretorius, Peter Townshend, Victor Strugo and Janine Walker. Van Graan is the recipient of this year’s Arts & Culture Trust Award for Journalist of the Year.

Artslink is independent and impartial, dedicated to collecting, disseminating and archiving all genres of the South African arts, culture and entertainment. An estimated 500 e-mails flow into the website daily from across the world.

It stands alone as the premier website of the arts and entertainment scene in South Africa. Indeed, other media rely on the Artslink news feed for up-to-date arts information.

Tony Lankester, marketing manager of SAfm, also nominated in the category, says SAfm has been covering arts for many years and its primary aim is to provide information to its listeners.

“Very few media cover the arts,” Lankester says, “and if they cover it they are confined to the listing of what’s going on.”

SAfm covers the full spectrum, in detail, adding live programming every Wednesday and Thursday. Its arts coverage is handled by well-known journalists such as Allan Swerdlow and Michelle Constant, both of whom are Arts & Culture Trust Awards nominees this year. The station has released a CD acknowledging the work of local artists.

Caroline Smart of D’Arts Magazine, also nominated for this year’s award, has said that when she started the magazine she tried to enlighten the general public about the enormous talent in Durban and to make information easily accessible to its readers.

“I wanted to bring out a magazine that would make all the arts attractive to the person in the street, especially visual arts.”

She says that although the magazine covers theatre, “in Durban theatre people are survivors because a lot of talent gets thrown to Johannesburg”.

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