E28 is about finding new ways of telling a story, training arts journalists, and engaging and interacting with the audience. The hope is that this experiment in journalism would gather, curate, analyze and have an influence beyond the 21 NEA Fellows who are at the heart of the Engine28 six-day pop-up newsroom.
What the 40 journalists who came together to produce Engine28 are taking away can be summarized by Laura Spencer, who said, “Possibilities! This made me feel more possible.”
The journalists met, most never having worked together before, and in many cases, ranged far from their media comfort zones to cover a time of intense theater activity in Los Angeles.
Engine28 may be a pop-up, the essence of ephemerality, but it had to pop-up in a real space. We needed a home with desks and chairs and places to create team projects, as well as quiet nooks for one-on-ones between an editor and a reporter. The LA STAGE Alliance generously provided this and more by turning over its office to us in an old firehouse on Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles. With the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism we were set.
But where were we going? What would be our final destination?
Engine28.com will remain online, archived indefinitely. And as a model it is infinitely replicable. It popped up once, so it can pop up again. Wherever journalism is needed, that’s where e28 potentially can go. That’s really the big idea.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to and participated in this 2011 NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater experiment.
Director, NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater
June 20, 2011