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What does Culture Press do with your press releases and invitations?

The other day I had an unpleasant conversation with a public relations officer of a medium-sized festival. He thought it would be a good idea if I came to write about that fantastic festival because of that unique opening event. I asked, "Are you members?" He said, "No." I said, "Then I don't know if I will be able to because during that time there are also members' activities, which I will prioritise then." He said, "I'm not going to pay for attention." I said, "You don't pay for attention, but offer your goodwill, by supporting Culture Press, just as you subscribe to a newspaper."

The conversation ended unpleasantly.

Hence this explanation.

As a creator, or as a cultural institution, you naturally want attention for what you have to show. Here, in our mailbox, we get dozens, to sometimes hundreds, of e-mails every day with requests for attention for that wonderful performance, that indispensable exhibition, that amazing CD and that heartbreaking book. Works on which you have spent a lot of time and money, and which, in a crowded cultural market, could use every bit of attention.

We also get invitations to premieres, vernissages, previews, exclusive interviews, all in the hope that we will come then, invest time in it and provide it with a preferably laudatory quality stamp.

This is our bin

The vast majority of those press releases and invitations disappear into the bin after reading them. Simply because there are too many of them and we don't have the time and money to provide the requested attention. In very exceptional cases, when it concerns real news, we do follow them up.

In a few cases, if an author feels like it, he will come along on his own initiative, read that book, listen to that CD, and publish an article about it on his own time. That is more the exception than the rule.

Reviewing is not a core business for Culture Press. We focus mainly on what is going on behind the scenes, what power relations are going on and who is handling taxpayers' money in what way. We follow the money in the sector. This can be done partly from behind the desk, partly through normal dealings with the field. That too costs money, but thanks to members' dues, we can basically do that well cover.

What does a review cost?

There is within the arts sector - thanks in part to the attention we pay to it - much to do about fair pay and fair practice. Fortunately, because the conditions under which art is created are often lousy. So is journalism, especially cultural journalism. After all, it is expensive, especially if you want to pay the journalist concerned fairly for his work. And of course you do not want to be discussed by an inexperienced hobbyist.

Assuming a freelance hourly wage of 60 euros (on the low side), going to a 2-hour performance in another city, i.e. with an hour's travel time there and back, is already 240 euros, and then there is writing to do. Allow at least 2 hours for that too. You end up with 360 euros, which seems like a lot, but as a per diem for an experienced professional, it's peanuts. Not to mention reviewing a 600-page book.

Expensive gift

So you get that 360 euros as a gift from the medium in which the review of your work appears, at least if that medium offers a fair fee to the reviewer. Which is usually not the case. Reviewers, if they are paid at all, are usually paid a fee of between 75 and 200 euros for a review, although there are publishers who leave it at a few euros, or a few tens.

So in most cases, you get a large part of that 360 euros as a gift from the author. The latter usually does so wholeheartedly, because she loves her profession enormously and has a warm beating heart for culture.

However, reviewing is unfortunately still often the work of amateurs who are already happy with a free ticket, the free champagne and the goodie bag plus the opportunity to be seen around BN-ers.

So that's why you want to become a member

We at Culture Press do not take this for granted. We can exist thanks to memberships and donations and do not send out reporters if we cannot afford them. Does anyone go on their own initiative and expense, we all hope that enough people make a donation on the resulting article, because we transfer that money directly to the author.

So if we want to be able to pay more attention to art, do more reviews of indispensable performances and exhibitions, we need more members. Then the Culture Press will have more meat on its bones to send someone out with a full stomach. So you can help with that. By become a member. Or to donate. Or make others members. If, as a festival, you do not intend to pay for journalistic coverage, you can therefore support that journalistic coverage with a membership.

These are our rules.

  • Cultural press is journalistically independent. That is to say, we do not bend our ears to anyone when it comes to our main journalistic task. Take a run at morals, membership does not save you from our investigative journalism.
  • Reviews are not for sale. If a reviewer comes - solicited or unsolicited - to see your exhibition, or listen, or read your book, it is up to them to decide whether and how to write or speak about what is on offer. We are as fair to members as to non-members
  • Members do have an edge. Because Culture Press can only exist thanks to financial contributions from readers, we treat requests and invitations from members with more attention than those from non-members. All this within reasonable margins: writing a review or doing and publishing an interview costs us much more than a single membership brings in.
  • Working together is possible! While maintaining and respecting independence. Do you want guaranteed attention, for example for your festival or a specific part of your programming, and would you like to include the independent sound of Culture Press? That is possible. We will then agree on a 'lump sum', in which we fix a certain amount of articles/podcasts, without you having anything to say about the content. That remains our responsibility. We mark those articles on the site as 'Special', making it clear to readers that the articles were created with help, but without input.
  • Advertorials? Gladly! We do not place banners and other disruptive third-party stuff on the site, but if you want to have an article that you want to co-determine the content of, or, for example, want to offer a piece 'rights-free' to third parties, you can. On publication, we clearly indicate that the content sponsored is.
  • We post your press releases for free. At least if you have a great or small membership as an institution. That is a member service, which does come with conditions: we do not post political or otherwise sensitive content that is not in line with our principles.
  • We are happy to answer questions. Also those of non-members.
  • You can become a member here.

Appreciate this article!

If you appreciate this article and want to show your appreciation with a small contribution: you can! This is how you help keep independent journalism alive. Show your appreciation with a small donation!


Why donate?

We are convinced that good investigative journalism and expert background information are essential for a healthy cultural sector. There is not always space and time for that. Culture Press does want to provide that space and time, and keep it accessible to everyone for FREE! Whether you are rich, or poor. Thanks to donations From readers like you, we can continue to exist. This is how Culture Press has existed since 2009!

You can also become a member, then turn your one-off donation into lasting support!

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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