Crikey recently carried an article by Lucinda Strahan on the dire state of Australian arts journalism. Strahan reported that "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".

The shoddy state of the profession is disappointing, but hardly surprising for those who have actually worked as arts journalists. Arts journalists -- and let's throw in their even more neglected brothers and sisters, the critics -- are a motley crew, to say the least. But what they generally share are precarious, insecure and lowly paid working conditions.