Celebrity journalism: the good, the bad and the effin’ ugly

I guess in a way, I always wanted to work in celebrity journalism before I even knew that was a thing. As a kid, I loved picking up the National Enquirer or People Magazine. Heck, I didn’t even know I wanted to work in journalism until I fell in love with it during college while working on my college newspaper.

And since then, I’ve always wanted to work in celebrity journalism.

I’ve had my forays in it. I’ve interviewed huge celebrities like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line. I’ve covered huge entertainment events such as the first concert ever to be held at the legendary Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. I’ve met and hung out with celebrities, interviewed them and just had good conversations.

Somewhere along the way, and changing jobs, I haven’t done much of that lately professionally. Living in Georgia, even Atlanta, you can only get so far with trying to work in celebrity journalism.

I try to do right on this blog by either writing mostly personal things, fangirling things because, duh, that’s what the site is about. I would love to be able to sit here and cover everything that goes on in the world of entertainment. I tried that with the site that became this site. It was going to be a Buzzfeed for boy bands, and as a one-woman team, working full-time and then my mother getting sick, I couldn’t keep up with it.

Between this site and writing things for BackstreetBoys.com, I keep my writing skills intact.

But lately, I’m starting to wonder why?

Why do I long to get back into an industry that lately has done nothing but make me sick to my stomach?

Journalism is not what it used to be. It’s not like it was 10 years ago when I took journalism classes in college. Sure, the inverted pyramid writing is still in tact because readers get bored after a while, but ethics and integrity have gone out the window.

I think in a way, you can blame people like Perez Hilton and TMZ. While they usually have their story straight, how many times have they reported things that never pan out? Perez may try to act all professional now, but remember when he would use Paint to draw ugly things all over people’s faces?

Journalism started to go down hill when people could create a site and write what they want to write. And I can count myself into that role. I’ve had many sites over the years. But when readers start reading sites that have no sources, no backing evidence or even a decent reputation, that’s a problem.

Various websites who don’t have their facts straight are shared as if they come from The Washington Post or The New York Times. Jim Bob from Kansas can write an opinion piece and some Bozo in South Carolina can read it and share it on Facebook as if it’s the gospel and so on and so on.

It kind of comes back to President Trump and his whole “fake news” bit. Yeah, some of the news out there is fake, but he calls the news that is actually good “fake news.” He has it backwards.

The first rule of journalism is to only report the facts. There’s no need for a writer’s opinion in an actual news piece. Then, you have to know your audience and who you are writing for. Cite your sources because if you have no sources, at least two, you shouldn’t be writing a news story. Focus on the story only and know that writing the “truth” is just a myth because the truth is different for everybody. You report the facts and truth will be found in that.

That’s the problem with celebrity journalism today and I don’t mean the National Enquirer “Elvis is alive” type stuff. I mean the stuff you see on Us Weekly or Entertainment Tonight. They search the internet for anything and everything and report on it.

For the instance, an Entertainment Tonight “reporter” saw the Melissa Schuman blog post, tweeted the link and not long after, there’s a story about Schuman saying Nick Carter raped her on Entertainment Tonight’s website. Then Us Weekly. Then E! Online. Then Perez Hilton. TMZ. You can keep going with this.

Sitting and watching all of this happen on Twitter, when I knew about the blog post the day before, opened my eyes to how I was starting to feel about journalism.

Fans had to go digging to find out information about the two, especially Melissa. That should have been what the journalists were doing. The journalists for these sites should have been the ones to go find out that she’s following him on Twitter or said that he had been through so much when she found out his father died on a video chat stream that someone had put on YouTube.

Someone from one of these websites that reported on the original “story” from her “blog” should have been doing this research, instead of just repeating the same thing over and over and over with no real information other than her word.

There’s no integrity left in this type of journalism. You have your good reporters who report the facts, but it’s all about hits today or who has a story first. Or who has the best gossip? Or can they find something bad about someone, but refuse to write the good things. Who has the most retweets on a story? Were there a lot of impressions on the advertisements on the story? That’s what they care about today.

Not the facts.

And the facts is the most important thing in a news story.

1 Comment

  1. It’s so sad that these days many reporters don’t do their job properly anymore. What you described is a world-wide trend, unfortunately. In my country I would tell those sites to get their facts right each time. I’m an editor, so it’s my nature to emphasize accuracy. Most of them apology then, but next time, it’s the same issue all over again. It already gets to the point where I tell myself it doesn’t even make sense to complain and try to get all those things straight. It’s exhausting, actually.

    I guess we would need more reporters like yourself, who actually took classes and learned how good journalism works. I love reading your stuff, it’s always written in a very professional way and to the point. People should take a leaf out of your book… or a paragraph out of your blog. 😉

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