Junk journalism is popular

Associated Press announced it is beefing up its celebrity news coverage by adding 21 reporters to the beat.

It might be easy to condemn AP for the move, since the wire service alone seems to affect more than half the news articles you see in your daily newspapers (The Gazette, which cut Canadian Press and therefore AP as well last summer, relies on Reuters, Bloomberg, Agence France-Presse, Sports Ticker, New York Times, LA Times/Washington Post and its own Canwest News Service for wire stories).

But the move is simply a reaction to the demands of AP’s members, who are increasingly demanding more celebrity gossip. Setting up a gossip news site is like opening a McDonald’s franchise: It’s embarrassing and unhealthy, but it’s an easy way to make money if you have no ideas.

I guess it’s also like porn that way, if you need a second analogy. But respectable organizations aren’t going to publish outright porn… yet.

Of course, AP says it isn’t out to do trash celebrity journalism, publishing pictures of people without makeup, digging through trash or just plain annoying people trying to go through their daily lives and pretending that’s news.

So I guess it’s more like opening a Subway franchise then. (Or Maxim/FHM, if you’re on the porn analogy route). You can pretend what you create is food, but you still can’t call yourself a chef.

To those of you who care about celebrity gossip, you have only yourselves to blame for this. There could be real journalists tackling real issues in the world, but instead they’re constantly monitoring the status of Britney Spears’s underwear.

2 thoughts on “Junk journalism is popular

  1. princess iveylocks

    Your analogy sucks. Why is opening a McDonald’s franchise “embarrassing”? They’re a hugely successful multinational corporation that treats their employees well, provides a reassuringly sanitary eating experience from location to location, and consistently provides healthy/unhealthy food options at low prices. (It’s hardly their fault that consumers prefer junk – it’s like blaming a grocery store for stocking Oreos and Pepsi.)

    Payday loans, on the other hand….

    Also, the AP is on crack. Celebrity hounds know who the go-to people are for gossip, and it ain’t the salaried fatcats taken off the “lifestyles” beats. Why wait seven hours for stories to be vetted, fact-checked, edited, and published when Perez or TMZ has the raw deets up in minutes?


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