Logo

A Modest Proposal for Celebrity ‘News’

Jul 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

We have Paris Hilton to thank for a recent moment of clarity about celebrity “news”versus the television news previous generations knew.

It wasn’t anything about Ms. Hilton, per se. Rather, it was the behavior of broadcast and cable networks clawing to get the first post-incarceration interview with her following her stint in jail for driving on a suspended license.

The race to land that exclusive generated reports that NBC was considering paying up to $1 million for the first interview. (NBC denied those reports.) ABC reportedly had been considering paying $100,000 for a sit-down with Ms. Hilton.

Charges of paying for the interview flew hot and fast, with unnamed sources at each network implying that their competitors were doing something unsavory by mixing news and money.

In the end, CNN’s Larry King got the first post-jailhouse interview with Ms. Hilton after the other networks passed.

The episode left us thinking that the practitioners of the celebrity news genre should consider a jailhouse hose-down and delousing akin to what Ms. Hilton presumably endured.

It also inspired a proposal that might preserve the integrity of so-called hard news programs while slaking the public’s hunger for celebrity dirt.

A little transparency would go a long way.

Programs that deliver any form of payment—be it travel expenses, meals, cash, promises of book deals, etc.—to interview subjects or their representatives should disclose that practice. The disclosure needn’t be specific. Even boilerplate along the lines of “This program provides direct or indirect payment to some interview subjects”would do the trick. Especially progressive celebrity news professionals could go as far as flashing the notice before the particular items for which value was exchanged.

A key value for networks’ so-called “hard news”divisions is at stake, because being transparent about which programs pay for interviews would help erase questions about whether the practice is infecting other, straight-news telecasts.

No one expects celebrity news programs to play by the same rules as the networks’ evening newscasts. Admitting they sometimes provide value for interviews would air out the industry’s dirty little secret while preserving the integrity of networks’ more serious newsgathering efforts.

8 Comments

  1. I don’t deliberately ever watch Hilton. She is just not worth my time. I find it pitiful that she is evidently a draw for some people. Bless their hearts!

  2. Wonderful to read!

  3. Lindsay Lohan “In the event I were the alcoholic all people says I’m, then leaving a [scram[]|] bracelet on would have ended me up in detoxing, on the er, because I would had to come down from everything that others say I’m taking and even my dad states I am taking – so that says something, considering I had been fine.”

  4. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  5. I had only previously seen one web page when I googled into your website – I didn’t understand how extensive it is! Brilliantly completed! I hope you’ve got earned awards for it, they’re deserved.

  6. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  7. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  8. I like this information given and it has given me some sort of desire to succeed for some reason, so keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply to lcd for sale Cancel Reply

Email (will not be published)