What’s considered celebrity news?

By: Maggie Dickman

I do not necessarily think of news when I see these headlines:

Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis Jacked Their Baby’s Name From Tiger’s #1 Ex-Mistress??

Jennifer Lopez Tapes American Idol In Two Revealing Dresses: See the Sexy Looks!

Amanda Bynes’ Bizarre Behavior at LAX: Troubled Actress Talks to Herself, Puts on Makeup While Dining Solo

Celebrities are the center of popular culture, and their lives are shared everyday on celebrity news and gossip sites. But, what really constitutes “news?”

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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.

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5 responses to “What’s considered celebrity news?

  1. I think this is a great topic to cover, and I’m glad you included questions on how to tell if something is newsworthy or ethical. I think in today’s society, the line between newsworthy and gossip is pretty blurry, and the desire to gain publicity and a wider readership can drive once credible publications to report on something that is more entertaining than intelligent. I think in defining what newsworthy entails, a story should be interesting, provoking and affect a larger group of people directly, occurring within the general public. This is obviously not always the case, but when presenting less than newsworthy stories, publications should decide whether they desire being credible and maintaining their reputation or simply attracting readers to something that is honestly pretty trivial.

    • I completely agree with you. Everyone wants to read about the latest celebrity “meltdown,” even if it is something that is blown up solely to boost sales. It’s interesting to see how different publications sell these different things, and if it’s even ethical or legal to do some of the things they do. Sales seem to be the most important, especially in regards to celebrity news magazines. I think these publications should answer the questions Poynter published to make their news more reliable, but I’m not too positive it will happen.

  2. I personally am a huge E! news and People fan. I think it comes down to what an individual’s opinion is on the term “news.” Yes, I agree an article on ISIS is definitely more important than an article about what Ashton and Mila named their baby, but on the other hand in our world there are always such horrible things going on and horrible news always around us. I feel that there needs to be some of this fun carefree news to keep us optimistic and going in a hard and painful world sometimes.

    As of the ethical part, I agree these celebrities are being followed and harassed on a daily basis; that needs to change. Paparazzi need understand just because their are celebrities doesn’t mean they aren’t human and need privacy just like the rest of us.

    • People is a go-to source for me too. I’m always interested in seeing who-wore-what-where and who was spotted on the latest red carpet event. I think some sources go a step too far, and that is what really bugs me. People, even public figures, deserve a place to step out and not be photographed every second. Celebrity grocery shopping isn’t news, and I think that is the biggest point of trouble.

  3. I think there’s a place for this type of fluff news as well as more serious news. What I’ve found funny about the fluff news is that sometimes the updates like you used for Sarah Hyland and up being a one paragraph article. It seems like instead of wasting space on an entire article it could just be shared as a tweet. Privacy is important and people shouldn’t be invading it in order to post such minor details on a person’s life.

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