By: Maggie Dickman
I do not necessarily think of news when I see these headlines:
Celebrities are the center of popular culture, and their lives are shared everyday on celebrity news and gossip sites. But, what really constitutes “news?”
Recently, actress Sarah Hyland has dealt with a breakup with her boyfriend, Matt Prokop, because of abuse. It was later released that she was planning on getting a temporary restraining order from him, a timely enough topic.
But then, articles like People’s “Sarah Hyland ‘Cheerful’ at First Public Appearance Since Obtaining Restraining Order Against Ex” popped up on my news feed. The article quotes an onlooker at a party that Hyland was spotted at. According to the onlooker, “She looked like she was having a great time dancing and mingling with friends.” But, is this really considered news?
Not only does this not seem to constitute as news, but it also seems to be passing the point of privacy. Celebrity ethics in journalism are a little iffy because they are public figures. An article by the Poynter Institute shares five questions to ask to determine if an article is ethical or not:
- Why am I doing this story?
- Is there a journalistic reason for this story?
- What is the story’s news value?
- How much time and resources are we spending on this?
- Is this being done at the expense of another, more important story?
While celebrity news is still important for some, I think the line between news and gossip needs to be made clearer. Jeremy King, editor of industry paper Media Week, told BBC that it ends up being the public who brings this desire for news to the forefront. “The incessant need of the public to know what every celebrity is doing is phenomenal,” King says. “Ironically, this same public are equally outraged when it comes to normal civilians having their private lives publicly played out.”
Where do you think the line is drawn between news and unnecessary gossip? How far do you think the media should go when presenting these stories? Let me know your responses in the comments below.