Celebrities in Headliners

February 12, 2010

“Kim Kardashian Isn’t Engaged to Reggie Bush!”

“An Exclusive Interview: Angelina Jolie from Haiti.”

Not to completely bash news corporations and media conglomerates, but honestly are these really headlining pieces? The world of celebrities and entertainment has seemed to become more of a common feature within news outlets, not to mention a concern for many journalism and communication focused people. This has brought about many questions that mainly come down to the inquiry of why entertainment has been published as news.

News, defined as the presentation (to the public) of important current issues and happenings, has been evolving to fit a new audience, one that seems to be reinterpreting the idea and possibly value of journalism.

Within Robert McChesney’s book, The Political Economy of Media: enduring issues, emerging dilemmas, he states that the faults or defects within the news system existence primarily because of the for-profit mind-set. By providing the public with entertainment, they will gain readership and in turn stay afloat financially. However, while discussing this topic with my media issues group, there was one point that stood out.

Although the media is slightly straying from their traditional mission of providing the public with what we need to know, they are not the only ones to blame for the substitute of hard-hitting and investigative news with entertainment. To carry some of this burden of blame is actually today’s audience that has become the driving force behind the appearance of celebrity-centered articles outside of the entertainment sections.

Why does the public demand such coverage? Patrick Butler of the Collegiate Times asks the same question and determined that a 24 hour and 7 day a week schedule has actually diluted the news by trying to fill spaces with less substantial stories. He also claimed that money talks, which helped to form stations that try to give us what we want to hear above anything else.

I do feel that as consumers for this industry, we have found that entertainment is just more fun in comparison to the more realistic, complex and sometimes horrifying news that is presented to us today. I mean who wouldn’t want to view something entertaining or happy rather than depressing? At the same time, we’ve got to know that this preference is affecting the coverage of news and the younger part of our generation that may not fully be able to establish what is actually news. In case you were wondering…celebrities in headlines such as “Brad Pitt Trims his Beard” in my opinion is not news.

Although the solution to this issue has not fully been found, I wonder if there is a possibility of just making the news more interesting or packaging it in a more entertaining fashion to keep the audience both entertained and informed.

We’ve seen Jon Stewart and his Comedy Central program, The Daily Show, gaining quite a following due to a more sarcastic and intellectual twist on current events, so maybe this is something to take note of. Instead of celebrities becoming headlining news, let’s just repackage the facts so they are presented differently. It’s worth a try, I think.

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Participatory News

October 2, 2009

How credible are your social media sources? When I first began working for my school newspapers and learning about journalism, it was emphasized to get good and prominent people as quoted sources for your story. Their input was considered more credible or reliable, and had more of an impact or held more support in comparison to what some average Joe could have stated.

Nowadays, although there are still journalistic standards as to which sources to quote, more and more average citizens are participating in reporting the news or acting as a source. For example, Ellyn Angelotti of Poynter Institute said that there have been many changes in the old news communication model to the more interactive one. This was seen when the first picture of the Hudson place crash was not one that originated from a reporter, but from an iPhone belonging to a personal trainer who was visiting New York at the time. This photograph and its story were sent around Twitter before it was published through a news organization.

This idea of participatory news has increased throughout the years as technology has advanced. Information is being gathered from news sites, experiences, social networking sites, and even blogs. So how do you know that it’s credible and that you can use their information in your story? The time old answer and only way is to check and recheck your facts.