The BBC’s new Arts Editor

As some of you probably saw, the BBC recently appointed an arts editor in order to reflect its “deeper commitment to arts and music on the BBC throughout 2010”. This week he has been making his presence felt.

So who did they appoint? Will Gompertz, former director of Tate Media – something which involved expanding the appeal of Tate, especially via new media. He was also apparently voted one of the world’s top 50 creative thinkers by New York’s Creativity magazine.

Seeing as every time I usually go to BBC news for art information I become frustrated and annoyed I think this development was about bloody time. Arts & Culture is at present a subsection of ‘Entertainment’ which is the lowest channel on the sites left hand navigation bar. Clicking on it brings up a sneeze-worth of arts stories, some video, and a handful of related things from elsewhere on the site. It’s very uncluttered but also a bit of a mess, focus-wise.

Arts & Culture is HUGE. It’s books, movies, paintings, sculpture, poetry, music, events, photography, plus criticism, and theory of all of the above and so the stories lurch from one thing to another. They sprawl within their little group. There is also no (obvious) way of browsing through a list of previous headlines. If I’m not interested by what’s on the main page I should at least be able to find something I might want quite easily.

The first thing Gompertz has done is install his rather un-BBC blog; the amusingly named Gomp/arts. Having looked at it over the last couple of days I would say that it’s a really good idea. There’s a unifying force because the same voice carries through and I think that’s something the arts coverage has lacked.

There’s also a very unfamiliar (and welcome) chatty tone – “I saw this and thought it was interesting!” kind of stuff. I can’t say I’ve agreed with him 100% but I think he’s bringing movement into a forgotten pool and for that I am most pleased!

What about you lot? I’d love to hear your opinions (as ever!) so just drop me a line below…

Do you love or loathe the Beeb’s current art coverage? Think Gompertz is the man for the job? Think he should be focussing on other things?

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