Celebrity news as hybrid journalism : an assessment of celebrity coverage in newspapers and magazines
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Journalism : theory, practice and criticism. - London, 2000, currens
, p. 44-63
University of Antwerp
This contribution discusses the content and characteristics of celebrity news as a hybrid news genre by means of a quantitative content analysis of a random sample from one year of celebrity news as published in two elite and two popular Flemish newspapers, and two Flemish celebrity gossip magazines. To this end, a theoretical framework is developed that combines insights from celebrity studies regarding the characteristics of the celebrity as a mediated construct with insights from research on (the decline of) journalistic quality, as well as insights from genre studies on hybridity. Different from what the literature suggests, the results indicate a certain dominance in celebrity news of the public over the private and a distinct attention to public interest next to human interest news, although results differ according to type of medium. The results also show clear indications both of original but sensationalized reporting in magazines and of a high level of churnalism in (elite) newspapers. In the conclusion, the article suggests a need to pay more attention to regular rather than exceptional celebrity news and a reconsideration of what is wrong with celebrity news as indicative of what is wrong with journalism in general, and shows that celebrity news is a hybrid genre in three different ways.