Telum Talks To: Nick Dent from Brisbane Times

Telum Talks To: Nick Dent from Brisbane Times

By Cindy Paskalina Kweesar

Telum spoke to Nick Dent, Culture Reporter at Brisbane Times, about his return to Brisbane's art journalism scene and what sets the city apart from the rest of Australia.

With over 25 years of reporting arts and culture, how has the industry changed and what is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Brisbane Times is something of a homecoming for me as I started my career reviewing theatre and films in Brisbane for long-vanished publications, and subsequently moved to Sydney to work in glossy magazines. I then joined the international going-out brand Time Out, initially as Sydney Arts Editor, and I eventually held a management role. While at Time Out, I witnessed the transition from print to digital and the rise of social. I also saw the rise of branded content as a revenue stream and worked happily with many arts and culture clients. 

In addition, I spent five years as a contributing film reviewer for News Corp's Sunday papers nationally, writing four reviews a week, which was enormous fun and a real privilege in the dying days of the newspaper film critic.

I learned a lot from great leaders at Time Out and enjoyed being a manager of creative people, although I'm most happy as a writer and editor creating my own content.  
I firmly believe the injection of diversity into the arts scene over the past decade has made it a really exciting place to report from. We're all much richer when our art reflects the experiences of people who are different from us.

What sets Brisbane's arts and culture scene apart from other parts of Australia?
Great question! Brisbane has always had a spirit of "can do". Companies and entrepreneurs just get on with it up here, and there's less of a culture of snobbery. Performers here seem adept at starting their own companies and kicking real goals. You think of organisations like Shake & Stir, Circa, Strut & Fret, Wynnum Fringe, and many more, doing brilliant work and finding audiences. The cultural institutions in the Brisbane region, too, are stunning, and, of course, Brisbane has a live music scene Sydney would kill for.

Are there any upcoming events or projects that you are particularly excited to cover in the near future?
It seems like there's something new every day! Brisbane has a culinary and cultural life that's staggering, and I'm thrilled to be exploring what's amazing about this town, which has come so far this century.

How can we ensure that arts reporting continues to receive the attention it deserves?
The arts truly are a mirror to our society, and are often on the cutting edge. The stories being told are directly relevant to everyone, and it's the job of art reporters and critics to demonstrate this. 
While arts desks always seem to be the first to go, I've encountered no lack of enthusiasm from the many talented arts journos I have worked with in recent years, and the audience is still there if you know how to find it. The numbers may never compete with the footy. Still, publications of record have a duty to tell people what's happening in the theatres and galleries and concert halls, because that's where some of the most important conversations are occurring.

What advice would you give PR professionals when sending pitches to art / culture reporters?
Firstly, give us plenty of notice. Secondly, always include a web-quality image that can be used in an article (not a logo or graphic). Thirdly, remember that you're not competing with other art content. You're competing with breaking news, so what's the angle? And finally, don't be offended if we can't help this time, because there's always next time.

Profile photo by Stefanie Thoms.

More stories

Telum Media


Nick Dent

Culture Reporter

Brisbane Times Lifestyle and Culture

4 contacts

Get in touch to hear more

Request demo

Telum Media


Regular email alerts featuring the latest news and moves from the media industry across Asia Pacific Enjoy exclusive daily interviews with senior journalists and PRs as well as in-house editorial and features from the Telum team

Subscribe for alerts