New evidence shows that arts journalism is saturated by PR content. A recently published study using a two-week sample of arts journalism in Melbourne newspapers The Age and the Herald-Sun found public relations activity at 97% in The Age and 98% in the Herald Sun.

But the interesting question that arises here is not necessarily one of journalistic ethics and independence. Trying to untangle PR from journalism in arts coverage actually reveals something far more interesting about the relevance of these kind of cornerstone fourth estate principles to the specialist area of arts coverage.