Quick U.S. journalism lesson: While papers like the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal set the agenda for TV news and coverage by other, smaller and regional papers, to a great extent it is still Associated Press stories that enjoy the highest readership.
That readership isn’t large in any one paper, but added up in all the many small — 5,000 circulation here, 15,000 circulation there — papers and AP stories get lots of eyes.
So the AP’s story on the Smithsonian’s yoga exhibit is worth noting because it likely will be the way the most people in America hear about the exhibit. A link (to the Washington Post’s site, which I hope doesn’t mean the Post isn’t doing its own coverage/review) is right here. And a key excerpt:
First the exhibit examines the concepts and practices of yoga traditions, including meditation and postures found in Indian art dating back hundreds of years. The first piece is an 11th century sculpture representing a yoga teacher, seated in the lotus posture with legs crossed to signify enlightenment.
Such sculptures were displayed in Hindu temples so people could see the teacher and “understand yoga’s transformative potential,” Diamond said. [Note: She’s the curator.]
Three life-size sculptures of yogini goddesses from Hindu temples illustrate the belief that female powers could be used to allow practitioners to achieve divine powers and enlightenment.
Later galleries examine how the idea of yoga was circulated worldwide, Diamond said. Early American posters depict yogis as magicians or “fakirs” performing acts, along with a 1902 film by Thomas Edison.
Perceptions of yoga helped determine how the tradition developed, and knowing that background is important for how Americans think about yoga today, Diamond said.
Seems like a pretty good encapsulation. Now we’re waiting on an intrepid yogi in the D.C. area to get a review up online.
Posted by Steve