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In life, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And in the world of entertainment media, it’s not only who you know, but how famous you yourself can become simply by association.
To accomplish such a feat requires little-to-no authentic journalistic credentials. Why concern yourself with tedious details such as facts or integrity, when salacious gossip, particularly when penned by your own creative hand, is so much more fun?
Nay, for this self-important set, the actual story, or the subject thereof is of little importance.
Their ultimate headline-dominating objective entails plastering pictures of themselves in their own publications fawning over celebrities (typically accompanied by some puerile anecdote about them being “besties”), or unashamedly gushing over “OMG! So-and-so wants to talk to me!” when it’s often the so-called journo who harassed the personality to the point of submission!
Like the witches from Macbeth cackling over their cauldron, these pretenders to the journalistic throne smugly bemoan and belittle those whom they deem unworthy – whatever that may mean – and pompously flit about at parties, using half-words like “awkies” (translation: awkward).
So just when and how did the reporter become the subject being reported on? Former executive director of the Freedom Forum’s Media Studies Centre in New York, Robert Giles, once said: “The public sees these (journalists) as having large egos, not unlike those in show business. So they become seen in the same context as other entertainment figures, as celebrities.”
Which isn’t to say that every journo-turned-superstar actively sought such fame. On the news side of the spectrum, forerunners along the lines of Barbara Walters and Larry King became recognisable faces in their own right, because they happened to be accomplished workers within their field. Likewise, current ruler of the entertainment coverage universe, Ryan Seacrest, earned his stripes through time, concentrated effort and a savvy business sense.
A survey conducted by Time Magazine revealed that the majority of respondents expressed a distinct dislike and disregard for these pseudo reporters-cum-bloggers-cum-Twitterati making a name for themselves on the back of other people’s personal lives. (And the same could probably be said for the actual celebrities whose lives are exploited.) Why, then, do they give credence to this unscrupulous Perez Hilton fraternity infesting the journalistic realm?
After all, these bottom feeders would have long ceased to exist, if the public simply stopped consuming the rubbish they dish up, and celebrities stopped kowtowing to them for fear of having their carefully constructed image ruined.
And while these “journarazzi” continue to hog the limelight under false pretences and misrepresent what true entertainment coverage should entail, the genuinely talented writers continue to work quietly, and anonymously, from the sidelines…
LARA DE MATOS