#Muckedup chat Tuesday: celebrity journalists & newsmakers as the news
Celebrity journalist. The term "celebrity" has touched every part of our culture, with everything from chefs to personal trainers earning the designation. It should probably come as no surprise that that term extends to newsmakers, as well, but from the first time I heard that phrase something about it struck me. I wasn't sure what I thought.
Is it OK for newsmakers to be part of the news themselves? Or is it simply an extension of our brand heavy culture helping bring some journos to the forefront of the public?
The first modern celeb journs were certainly Woodward and Bernstein, and before that the names of Edward R. Murrow and journos-turned-authors Ernest Hemmingway and even Mark Twain can be counted as shoe-ins. And it's a fair wager to make that if those men lived today, they would have been even bigger due to digital tools, likely using that pulpit to further cultivate reps and readership. But is that wrong? Does that personal notoriety take away from the craft? And shouldn't we as journalists want the attention of readers in order to please our editors, bolster our egos, and, oh yes, serve the public good? So what if we pat ourselves on the back, too, if our work is still honest? Right? Right??
Well is it? If it feels like things are getting less black-and-white, it's because they are.
Is it wrong to use your notoriety as a vehicle, and thereby becoming part of the story in order to drive traffic? Surely we can produce good content, in spite of our thirst for the spotlight, right? And if so, could that attention then be a motivator for better work, even if it's quite possibly because we desire the accolades and ego stroking of an active audience?
The truth is we're stuck in an era where page views and eyeballs make and break publications, and more and more outlets are relying on big name journalists to attract readers. So where does that leave the rest of us, and what kind of responsiblity does that then put on these new pundits? Join me to talk shop on the #muckedup chat on Tuesday, November 12 at 8 EST. See you then.