New York Times journalist speaks to students about art and journalism

Journalist and author Jori Finkel tells students she built her career “one stone at a time.”

April 27, 2023
Jori Finkel as she delivered her keynote speech.
Jori Finkel as she delivered her keynote speech.

On April 4, 2023, Jori Finkel presented a keynote speech to students of the San Diego State University School of Art and Design highlighting “five things journalists can learn from artists and five things artists can learn from journalists.”

 Finkel writes for The New York Times and The Art Newspaper from her home in Los Angeles. Before coming to California, she was a senior editor of the Art+Auction magazine in New York. Finkel lectures regularly at museums and art fairs and also appears on broadcasts and podcasts as part of her larger project of making contemporary art more accessible.

The keynote was organized by the Visiting Artists and Lecturer Committee in response to a faculty request for more school-wide events and a keynote speaker. 

After creating a relationship with Finkel over years in the LA arts community, Professor and Committee Chair Annie Buckley invited Finkel to speak to students about her experiences as an arts journalist. 

“I appreciated the way that she prepared and offered her talk. She set it up in a way that I found to be both imaginative and also really thoughtful in relation to our student body and faculty.” Buckley said. “There were lots of words of wisdom and stories from the field throughout, and I enjoyed the way this structure allowed us to see the relationship between artists and art writers as one of mutual support and learning.”

Finkel’s deep knowledge of the arts and her speaking skills made her the top candidate as a special guest to unite the SDSU arts community.

When asked what she hopes students take away from her speech, Finkel said “I spoke about doing my first art reviews in San Francisco when I was a baby art critic and gave some examples of how I had to cold call editors to try to get assignments. I had no money, no contacts, and made connections one at a time. I was hoping to show students that this is how a career is built, one stone at a time.”

Students were able to speak with Finkel after the speech to get their questions answered and learn all they could from the experienced writer.
If you’re interested in reading Finkel’s work, you can find her New York Times articles here and her articles for The Art Newspaper here.

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