Sunday, February 14, 2010
High profile music journalists from the surrounding Ohio area speak with OU students
Music and journalism collided this past weekend with a music journalism panel followed by a battle of the bands presented by OU’s ed2010 and SPJ. Andrew Whitman from Paste Magazine, Jeff Niesel from the Cleveland Scene, Joel Oliphint from The Other Paper and Dana Stewart from the Columbus Metromix visited campus to discuss the music journalism industry and offer advice to aspiring journalists.
Of course online journalism was a hot topic at the panel. Stewart began by advising the audience to find a way to market yourself online by pitching stories that would work in print and online. The online world has enhanced music journalism by allowing audiences to listen to a song while reading a review of the artist. Because of this fact, music journalists must provide more depth when writing an album review. The reader needs to learn more then just what they would from simply listening to the song.
I never thought the vibe in a room could go from an energized, passionate level, talking about the thrill music journalism brings to these people, to a disturbing reality that making a decent living as a music journalist is next to impossible. Additional freelance was a major trend among these journalists to make a decent living. An important thing to remember, however, is that money was not driving any of the panel members to write about music. It was the passion behind it all that inspired them to continue with this low paying career.
Just as music journalists evaluate the quality of an artist’s performance or album, the panel informed the audience how to write a good music story reviewing that artist or album. Niesel advised, “Develop a critical voice so it does not sound like a press release. Write about it creatively so that people know it is coming from an outside perspective.”
The final advice of the panel is to educate yourself with a general knowledge of where the music industry has been and where it is going. Music literacy is key.
Song of the week: “The Underdog” – Spoon (Band recommended by the panel)