Tag Archives: celebrity-gossip

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.

Media != celebrity, CBC

Dear CBC,

I subscribe to your “media news” feed, because I have a keen interest in journalism and the media.

I do not, however, have any interest in Britney Spears or Michael Jackson. What do celebrity gossip stories have to do with the media, other than showing us that non-paparazzi outlets will stoop to this level too?

Please separate your celebrity gossip from your media-related stories.

Thank you.

CJNT: Multicultural American celebrity news

Once upon a time, Montreal had a low-budget multi-ethnic television station whose mission it was to provide a space where allophones could communicate. The station was called CJNT, and broadcasted over the air on channel 62.

Then the channel was acquired by a media company, which was in turn acquired by CanWest/Global. CanWest forced the station to declare bankruptcy, and has been egging the CRTC to allow it to reduce its ethnic content to put more commercially viable programming on instead.

The latest sad move in this direction came in April, when CanWest announced that its CH stations would be rebranded as “E!” entertainment (read: celebrity gossip) channels. That change took effect last Friday, and the channel’s been running all sorts of “E!” programming from the U.S. network ever since.

But what about its commitment to 60% multicultural programming? The channel still runs its multicultural shows, many during prime-time (the CRTC rules require this). And in between, they provide E! celebrity gossip shows dubbed in other languages. Now you can hear about Britney Spears in Portuguese!

Not only is celebrity gossip bad in and of itself, but to take a channel designed to give a voice to those who can’t get access to commercial airwaves, and use that channel (to the extent allowable by law) to broadcast unimportant information about people who have so much television coverage that they take great pains to limit it…

Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

Needless to say, the only reaction this change has gotten in the blogosphere is bad: “Tripe.”