Is celebrity journalism a threat?

Table of Content

Critically measure whether famous person news media constitutes a menace to traditional maps and criterions of news media.

“In this new civilization of journalistic titillation, we teach our readers and our viewing audiences that the trivial is important, that the lurid and loopy are more of import than existent intelligence. We do non function our readers and viewing audiences, we pander to them. And we condescend to them, giving them what we think they want and what we calculate will sell and hike evaluations and readership. It is the function of journalists to dispute people, non simply amuse them.” ( Bernstein, 2000 )

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

When Carl Bernstein put his sentiment frontward at the bend of the millenary, he didn’t precisely hold back. He affirmed that famous person news media, or ‘trash journalism’ , was doing the importance and laterality of newsworthy articles to withdraw and that a ‘sleazoid culture’ was bit by bit going seen as expected. Gone were the yearss of war concerns venturing their almost-certain claim for the front pages of Britain’s media – all the populace wanted to cognize was whether a Z-list famous persons fiancee was holding an matter. Move into the current epoch, and his positions are backed up by outstanding media observers such as Bob Franklin and Neil Postman. The brace are non entirely, with many others doing gibelike observations about the danger that famous person news media poses to the criterions of the modern industry. Such a subject possesses many facets which can be discussed, but it is clear that the most blunt focal points on the public’s looking compulsion with famous persons and their supposedly aspirational life style. Bernstein’s attack, known as the diehard position, is non without its contesters.

There are theoreticians, such as Jane Shattuc and John Hartley, who believe this type of news media is the more democratic of the two. Traditionalists suggest that ‘trash journalism’ undermines democracy but it has been argued that, because of its loosely accessible nature and easy-to-participate signifier, this is non the instance. However, before the two statements can be vied against each other, the traditional criterions and maps in inquiry must be clearly defined.

Arguably the most hidebound position of the media’s maps is to act as a partly-political, self-viable establishment – or as a ‘fourth estate’ , as defined by Schultz. “Long since people have forgotten, if they of all time knew, what the first, 2nd and 3rd estates were, there is a general apprehension that the 4th estate is another name for the intelligence media” ( Schultz, 1998 ) . His point of view suggests that the media’s function is to execute on the behalf of the populace and inform them of the ongoings in the democracy we live in, giving a public say-so to those in power in corporate, societal and economic sectors. With rights non at the powerful degree they are in the modern epoch, and with the media industry turning at the clip, Schultz, classed the imperativeness as “a important political establishment, closely connected to the concerns and preoccupations of its readers” ( Schultz, 1998 ) . This position is reinforced by Bardoel, who proposes that modern democracies by and large recognise a just imperativeness as a footing of their foundation ( Bardoel, 2001 ) . He besides suggests that political relations would be far from democratic without this necessity, as would societal coherence, demoing the most of import map of traditional news media in the universe of intelligence.

“Stanley Baldwin did non mean it as a compliment when he said of newspapers in 1931 that they had power without responsibility” ( Rusbridger, 2011 ) . Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, made the aforesaid statement following the contention environing the phone-hacking dirt, in which many journalists were made to confront the tribunals. This goes to demo that this is still the position of news media today, shouting out the importance of a just imperativeness. However, it can be argued that the lack of duty is an facet that separates the imperativeness from all other divides of society. It is critical to the map that news media dramas in political relations, but above all anything deemed to be in the public involvement. But what defines whether something is in the public involvement?

It’s surely one of the strongest powers the imperativeness clasp. There is no other sector, apart from possibly the exigency services, where its workers are sometimes allowed to flex the jurisprudence to unearth a narrative if it is something the public ‘need to know’ . Since news media broke out through the pamphleteers of the 1600’s, arguably the biggest function of the industry has been to move as a public watchdog for Britain’s citizens and hold those in power to account. This has been the instance in modern news media with illustrations like the Watergate dirt in the 1970’s and more late the MP’s revenue enhancement disbursals dirt, with MP’s claiming they had 2nd places to hike their income. The taking coverage on the Watergate dirt came from Bernstein, who at the clip worked for the Washington Post – subsequently proposing fact-finding coverage was on its manner out.

However, journalists do non merely function the populace to uncover dirts and narratives that shock the state. Another function that they play is to provide the populace with cognition that is meaningful and accurate, in order to make about a public medium for ordinary citizens to aerate their positions. This position is reinforced by Hartley, who describes such a criterion of news media as ‘social establishment of discourse’ ( Hartley, 1982 ) . If, as democracy suggests, society is to play an active function instead than a inactive function in how the cogs of this state birr, this signifier of news media must predominate – the traditional map of news media is to inform them. Put into context of famous person news media a narrative environing a Z-lister may non look newsworthy but by printing it the populace are being informed, doing the diehard attack easy to knock.

On the contrary, there are facets of the diehard attack that make visible radiation of opposing theoreticians. Standards of news media, traditionally, suggest that any information given to the populace should be honest and accurate. “That is our primary intent. All that we do – and all that is said about us – must flux from the individual beginning of truth-telling” ( Davies, 2008 ) . However, this can be challenged. Is this endangering the criterions and map of news media? Or is it merely endangering to alter the manner we interpret the media ; they are wholly different.

There are a figure of theoreticians, viz. McKee, who steadfastly believe in the former political orientation. His point of view is that of an utmost one, claiming that famous person news media has made the media and sensational coverage much simpler. “The public domain should ideally cover merely with serious issues of existent importance – merely party political relations, and non famous person issues, athletics or amusement. It shouldn’t be sensational, easy accessible, or commercialised: it should decline to dumb down to consumers and demand that they work harder to better themselves. It should merely prosecute in rational, logical statement, non emotional or dramatic appeals” ( McKee 2014 ) . However, this statement should be taken with an highly big pinch of salt. To propose the media should merely describe on political intelligence is surrounding on the absurd. Would the media industry really be able to last if this happened? Take into account their outgo, and take all of the income they get through the amusement and famous person industry. It wouldn’t go on. Furthermore, this would arguably do the media less democratic. By doing it less accessible to the populace, it is really countering the diehard attack. There would besides be the hazard of turning the huge bulk of the public off from the media – non everyone shows an involvement in political relations, so readership, gross and consequences would be down.

On the impudent side it can be argued that McKee besides suggests that political coverage is fighting to vie with famous person news media in footings of popularity and readership, a position supported by Franklin. He believes that top quality political coverage, which offers a ‘culinary feast’ , has been replaced by what could be described as ‘McJournalism’ due to its standardized character. Franklin completed a survey of local newspapers, a survey which found that editors were make fulling content with as many narratives of public involvement as possible to forestall ennui ( and therefore, deficiency of gross revenues ) – a ennui most likely created by political narratives – because they were afraid of dwindling readership figures. “Reporting about schools, councils, that kind of thing, you could acquire away with that in the past, but now you have to look for good narratives and the good narratives which sell newspapers are tabloid stories” ( Franklin, 2005 ) .

This is a primary illustration of McKee’s theory. Franklin makes no allusion to the thought that famous person news media is forcing political news media out of the populace sphere, but it could be deduced that it is more outstanding in today’s media because we as consumers are more interested in such narratives – therefore the higher volume of tabloid ‘trash journalism’ . Such an statement is reinforced by Neil Postman, who suggests we are ‘amusing ourselves to death’ by allowing the simple procedure of argument be overpowered by the size of amusement and promotion given to famous persons. He besides infers that society is easy distracted from taking portion in conversation due to trivia ( Postman, 1985 ) , farther reenforcing McKee’s theories.

Much like McKee, Postman’s ideas seem to be an hyperbole. To propose that the ordinary individual is easy distracted by amusement is rather dismissive of both their capablenesss and intelligence and he is tarring everybody with the same ‘stupid’ coppice. However, Postman is non entirely in his positions. They are supported by the theoretician Boorstin, who believes that civilization is fascinated by famous person image and has lost its foundation in world ( Boorstin, 1992 ) . And with the gross revenues figures of ‘trash’ magazines such asHeat Magazinestill on the rise ( Bauer, 2014 ) , it’s difficult to differ – people want to read about the lives of famous persons. Chris Atkins reinforces these thoughts in his docudramaStarsuckers, showcasing the illustration of the Lithuanian authorities who create a hurried party out of supposed famous persons ; they rapidly became the 2nd biggest party in the state. Be this because of their policies? Of class non. It was their popularity. None of the famous persons had any political standing, but society is transfixed plenty with them to vote for them ( Atkins, 2009 ) . As it stands, the importance of image over political relations is clear.

While the hidebound attack holds a badly strong standing, there are theoreticians who argue the postmodern and cultural point of view. While diehards suggest the media are neglecting to be democratic, others, such as John Hartley, believe the media is more democratic because more ‘normal’ people can take part in communicating and treatment across the imperativeness. He states that traditionalists merely keep a fright of the alteration in popular civilization, and as such are rather defensive about it. “Not merely do such double stars reinforce a systematic prejudice against popular, screen and commercial media, they besides tend to reenforce other biass, chiefly the one which considers many of the denigrated footings as ‘women’s issues’ , with the deduction that serious political relations and the populace sphere is men’s stuff” ( Hartley, 1996 ) .

Shattuc appears to be back uping Hartley’s statement, mentioning talk shows as a primary illustration. Traditionalists would reason that talk shows are merely another allusion to the popular signifiers of news media that are killing off the criterions of the industry. However, Shattuc believes talk shows harbour a populace sphere where citizens can discourse issues in society by accessing such media. “The shows non merely promote conversation but do off with the distance between audience and phase. They do non depend on the power of expertness or businessperson instruction. They elicit common sense and mundane experience as a grade of truth. They confound the differentiation between the populace and the private” ( Shattuc, 1997 ) .

This position is reinforced by two other theoreticians, viz. Couldry and Rojek. The former suggests that the modern media has the ability to accomplish ‘a different, less unequal vision of the mediated public sphere’ ( Couldry, 2003 ) . This backs up Braudy’s sentiments, demoing that famous person news media and its criterions are turning into a more democratic nature. Rojek besides supports this point of view, saying: “this more diverse media representation consequences in the acknowledgment and jubilation of life styles, beliefs and signifiers of life antecedently unrecognised or repressed” ( Rojek, 2001 ) . This farther reaffirms the position of the two theoreticians antecedently mentioned – no longer are the same narratives affecting the same people being regurgitated, something which could be classed as bossy, but famous person news media is altering the media into a more democratic criterion by affecting all.

However, it can be argued that the postmodern attack is more like a alteration to the criterions and maps of news media than could be considered a menace. Braudy states that such a alteration is now necessary because the older coevals and category have left their powerful places, replaced by a new stage of democratic media, giving society wider entree to representation of media ( Braudy, 1986 ) .

However, this theory is rather easy to dissect and dispute. It’s instead simplistic in its presence, and the thought that famous persons are the same as normal citizens is rather naif in itself. Bonner seems to hold with this procedure, saying that “the people who appear ordinary on telecasting are merely a small better looking, a little more articulate, a small luckier” than your mean citizen ( Bonner, 2003 ) . He argues that the spread in position and image between famous persons and ‘normal’ people is much wider than originally thought, restricting the value that can be placed on democracy in this state. Put into context this can be shown through endowment shows such asBritain’s Got TalentandThe Voice,where persons take to a impermanent ‘celebrity’ position to seek and do the alteration from an ordinary individual to a lasting famous person.

The postmodern attack sing the media’s handiness is easy to hold with, to a point. Traditionalist’s positions are slightly exposed as elitist by Hartley, who portrays them as worried about the rapid transmutation of news media, and the impact celebrities’ are holding on the industries criterions. However, the postmodern point of view besides possesses elements of backing – it can be argued that such theoreticians see the people that they write about to be non in the same educational category, holding that they won’t understand the ‘proper’ political news media that in their eyes is worsening. Of class news media is altering and that will go on over the old ages, but it’s hard to propose that it is merely down to those in power’s thoughts – the populace want to hear about the lives of famous persons, as shown by the addition in readership and evaluations of chitchat web sites and magazines and confab shows, and those at the top of the industry are merely gratifying to their demands.

Since the media sector became every bit of import as it is, image and its importance have increased massively. It’s difficult to state that the diehard attack, which must non be forgotten was the lone attack until recent times, is stronger than the postmodern theory – particularly in a clip where the huge figure of media companies jumping intelligence every bit shortly as they get it via the cyberspace and assorted societal media platforms. Media companies are merely giving consumers what they want. Of class, famous person news media threatens the criterions of news media if you consider the criterions to be the ratio of difficult to soft intelligence narratives, but with the addition in engineering the field of news media has outgrown merely describing political ongoings. Journalism has had to alter in order to last, and famous person news media is a primary illustration of it.

Ends, 2553 words.


Atkins, C. ( 2009 ) .Starsuckers. [ video ] Available at hypertext transfer protocol: // v=Jd8O6rhIGo8 Accessed 8/5/14.

Bardoel, Jo, Deuze, Mark, ( 2001 ) .Network Journalism: Converging Competences of Media Professionals and Professionalism.In Australian Journalism Review 23 ( 2 ) , pp.91-103. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // Accessed 10/05/2014

Bauer. ( 2014 ) .Heat Magazine inside informations.[ online ] Available at hypertext transfer protocol: // Accessed 10/5/14.

Berry, D. ( 2000 ) .Ethical motives and media civilization. 1st erectile dysfunction. Oxford: Focal Press.

Bonner, F. ( 2003 ) .Ordinary Television: Analysing Popular Television.1sterectile dysfunction. London: Sage.

Boorstin, D. ( 1992 ) .The image. 1st erectile dysfunction. New York: Vintage Books.

Braudy, L. ( 1986 ) .The craze of fame. 1st erectile dysfunction. New York: Oxford Universsity Press. Cited in Lull, J. ( 2002 ) .Culture in the communicating age.1st erectile dysfunction. London: Routledge.

Couldry, N. ( 2003 ) .Media rites.1st erectile dysfunction. London: Routledge.

Davies, N. ( 2008 ) .Flat Earth intelligence. 1st erectile dysfunction. London: Chatto & A ; Windus.

Franklin, B. ( 2005 ) .McJournalism: The local imperativeness and the McDonaldization thesis. In: S. Allen, erectile dysfunction.Journalism: Critical Issues, 1st erectile dysfunction. Hymen: Open University Press, pp.137 – 150.

Hartley, J. ( 1996 ) .Popular world. 1st erectile dysfunction. London, England: Arnold.

Hartley, J. ( 1982 ) .Understanding intelligence. 1st ed London: Methuen.

McKee, A. ( 2004 ) .The populace sphere. 1st erectile dysfunction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Postman, N. ( 1985 ) .Amusing ourselves to decease. 1st erectile dysfunction. New York: Viking.

Rojek, C. ( 2001 ) .Celebrity.1st erectile dysfunction. London: Reaktion Books. Cited in Turner, G. ( 2004 ) .Understanding famous person. 1st erectile dysfunction. London: Sage.

Rusbridger, A. ( 2011 ) .The importance of a free imperativeness. [ on-line ] Available at hypertext transfer protocol: // Accessed 9/5/14.

Schultz, J. ( 1998 ) .Resuscitating the 4th estate. 1st erectile dysfunction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Shattuc, J. ( 1997 ) .The speaking remedy. 1st erectile dysfunction. New York: Routledge.


Cite this page

Is celebrity journalism a threat?. (2017, Jul 07). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront