It's official: the Word of the Year is... "austerity"

From the Associated Press, December 21, 2010

Austerity, the 14th century noun defined as "the quality or state of being austere" and "enforced or extreme economy," set off enough searches that Merriam-Webster named it as its Word of the Year for 2010, the dictionary's editors announced Monday.  John Morse, president and publisher of the dictionary, said "austerity" saw more than 250,000 searches on the dictionary's free online tool.  "What we look for ... what are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behavior," Morse said. "The word that really qualifies this year for that is 'austerity'."  Runners-up also announced Monday included "pragmatic" and "moratorium."


Commentary: How nonprofit leaders can combat concerns over shaky economy

Posted by Elizabeth Ortiz on the blog Money and Mission, December 16, 2010

I read the many articles in recent months on the possibility of a double-dip recession -- or just a long-term shaky economy -- with more than a little bit of hyperventilation.  But to avoid real panic, I have learned a few coping mechanisms, and one of the best is to stare down the thing you fear as the first step toward being able to manage it....Think about what makes up the fabric of a community: Does every part have to be rebuilt in exactly the same way?  New ways of approaching our work are a must, collaboration is a given, and putting those we serve ahead of our institutional habits and loyalties is paramount. What emerges will be different, but in some cases, that just might be OK.... Continue to think "abundantly."  This is perhaps the hardest but the most important challenge.  This is less about data, statistics, and interest rates and more about faith, hope, and determination.  After all, one of my favorite sayings has always been: "The facts, though interesting, are frequently irrelevant."  Despite the sobering facts of our current time, the lesson of our history is that from great crises are born equally great solutions and new innovations.  And I believe that our time will be no different.


Commentary: Let's get out of our self-imposed ruts and see other kinds of art

Posted by James Undercofler on his blog State of the Art, December 21, 2010

My most recent 14 professional years [were] totally immersed in the field of music.  During these years, because of the press of senior management and seductive insularity, my arts exposure was 90% music, 10% other (and rarely self-selected).   Escaping this situation has allowed me to experience a wide variety of art, in different genres and forms.  And in doing this I have changed the way I think and approach matters.  For 2011, let's make sure we experience others' art performances, exhibitions and presentations.  Let's get out of the self-imposed rut.   And let's make our choices by ourselves, relying on our own instincts, and doing our own research, and buying our own tickets (yes, paying for them).  Furthermore, buy a piece of visual art created by a living artist.  One can do this, as prices can be very affordable.  Could it be that many of the traits of the arts leader and arts not-for-profit organizational model that I rail about are the result of insularity: of only experiencing one's own art done by those whom we know in venues we are familiar with?  One has to believe that this is a significant contributing factor, and one so pleasantly and easily addressed!


New online campaign will highlight top-rated arts nonprofits

Posted on Barry Hessenius' WESTAF blog, December 19, 2010

GreatNonprofits is a nonprofit organization that gathers and publishes people's personal stories about their experiences with nonprofit organizations, serving as a sort of for the nonprofit sector.  They are currently preparing for an Arts Campaign, starting January 1st, to raise public awareness about the many excellent nonprofit organizations that work on arts and media issues.  The campaign will highlight the nonprofits that are making a difference in this field.  The idea is that the public can access this information and identify highly ranked arts organizations whose work interests them and which they might want to support.  In this campaign, nonprofit arts organizations that attract ten or more positive user reviews during January will be listed on the sites' Top-Rated Arts Nonprofits List, which will be published at the end of the campaign.  The list is intended to be national in scope.  While getting your own people to send in positive user reviews is sort of like stacking the deck, if in the end it helps you to attract more people to what you do and even support you, then I think that is obviously in your best interest.  If you would like to see an example of one of the campaigns in action, please check out the Arts Campaign. Should you have any questions, please email Shivam Punjya at


Trendwatching: For first time, online ads pull ahead of newspaper ads

From The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2010

This year, for the first time, advertisers will have spent more on Internet ads than on print newspaper ads, according to new estimates from eMarketer.  The digital-marketing research firm says U.S. spending on online ads will hit $25.8 billion, surpassing the $22.8 billion spent on print ads in newspapers.  The eclipse has been on the horizon for years as consumers have migrated en masse to the Internet, where there are many more options for news, and where newspaper publishers can't charge nearly as much for ads as they can in print. So even while the total audience for many newspapers has grown, they have been unable to stem revenue declines.  "It's something we've seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point," says Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer.  It isn't just that newspapers are facing fiercer competition from the Web. Recently released findings by Forrester Research show U.S. consumers now spend as much time online as they do watching television. But they aren't spending less time in front of their TVs. What they are doing less of is listening to the radio and reading newspapers and magazines offline.  While total ad spending in the U.S. is expected to rise 3% this year to $168.5 billion, eMarketer estimates spending on print ads in newspapers will decline 8.2% in 2010, to be followed by a 6% decline in 2011. 

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