Our artists and creatives are our storytellers. They entertain, provoke and inspire us. Their work connects us, helps build our sense of identity, and is a source of national pride.
Visibility matters. The media is an important bridge between artists and the public – sharing the stories of our storytellers. It is through media that this whakataukī can come to life:
Kia kitea ngā toi e te marea – let the arts be seen by the masses.
Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa wants to support and strengthen arts and culture media coverage in Aotearoa. Our new research, Visibility Matters – Kia kitea ngā toi e te marea, gives us benchmark data, mapping the current arts and culture media ecosystem in Aotearoa. Undertaken by Isentia, it looks at a 12-month period of coverage, from July 2021 to June 2022, analysing content through a range of different lenses.
The report shows us that arts and culture is often crowded out of traditional media – and that a significant portion of coverage is driven by television, film and popular music. Events are also a primary driver of coverage, which can create an imbalance for art forms that are less event driven.
The report also highlights a number of communities underrepresented in coverage – including Māori, Pacific, NZ Asian and LGBTQI+ arts and artists. Independent and industry specific media however, are helping to fill these gaps, with a significant portion of coverage publishing underrepresented voices and covering industry specific analysis.
Overall, there is a significant opportunity to grow the coverage of arts and culture in Aotearoa. “The report helps us to understand where the potential is to strengthen coverage and support media and journalists,” says Tracey Monastra, Manager, Advocacy. “We’re thrilled to have completed this benchmark mapping research. It shows us where the gaps are, and having the data is the first step in supporting initiatives that can make the biggest impact.
“We’ve seen that with supportive editors, significant impacts can be seen in a short amount of time. We also know that New Zealanders want to hear these stories – to be informed, inspired and challenged. We see a future where arts and culture media thrive across both independent and mainstream platforms – where audiences can connect to the value of arts, culture and creativity in Aotearoa.”
Visibility Matters – Kia kitea ngā toi e te marea will be followed by a companion study, led by Rosabel Tan and Dr James Wenley. Based on 50 interviews with editors, journalists, commissioners, artists and publicists, it provides further detail on the challenges that the media face as well as initiatives that would make the biggest difference to grow and deepen arts and culture coverage.