Why dishing on the rich and famous isn't always a bad thing – The Mercury News
As a journalist, I’ve covered crime in Richmond, AIDS in Thailand and local government politics as well as women’s issues, education, parenting, arts and travel.
Given that these topics are either of vital public interest or high cultural value, it might seem like I’ve come down professionally with one of my current assignments.
One or two days a week, I help cover celebrity news. That means I write about Kardashian family shenagians, Justin Bieber being Justin Bieber, the Brangelina marriage meltdown and Taylor Swift feuding with Kanye West, Katy Perry or pretty much anyone else.
Yes, I write about gossip – generally defined by psychologists and social scientists as listening, producing or otherwise participating in “evaluative comment” about someone who is not present.
Yes, I have fun with this assignment. I’ve been intrigued by the sex scandals and power plays among the rich and famous since I was 10 and got hooked on a PBS series about Henry VIII and his six wives. Certainly, it’s entertaining to tell stories about beautiful and (mostly) talented people whose lives are full of the kind of high drama and hubris that allow writers to spin compelling yarns.
Of course, there’s nothing glamorous about how I do this job. My calendar isn’t filled with lunch dates at the 2016 equivalent of the Brown Derby or invitations to awards-show after parties. I don’t have a single Kardashian on speed dial.
Rather, I’m sitting with my laptop, sometimes in my sweat pants at home, scrolling for news from TMZ or Twitter — or from People, if I’m trying to class things up. And, unlike other stories I report on, it’s not likely that the subjects of my gossip items will ever see what I write about them – or care.
Although … there was the time I wrote about a Miami Herald report that Ben Affleck was