Atkins Writes on Why the Media Always Cover Celebrities

By whitlocd | August 3, 2010

“Celebrity Journalism is like crack. Americans are addicted to it. We need to hear the Mel Gibson tapes and see Lindsay Lohan report to jail. So why do newspapers, magazines, and television keep feeding our habit?” writes Adjunct Professor  of Journalism Larry Atkins in the July 28 Huffington Post.

Atkins writes that on the same day that Lindsey Lohan was being sent to jail there were other national  and world news stories that merited coverage, but the Lohan spectacle was covered by hundreds of photographers and journalists who camped out at the courthouse.

“Journalists consider many things when deciding whether to cover a story,” Atkins writes. “Journalism textbooks such as Writing and Reporting News, A Coaching Method by Carole Rich with Christopher Harper indicate that factors of what constitute news include timeliness, proximity, unusual stories, celebrities, human interest, conflict, impact, helpfulness, entertainment, community issues, and trends. Regarding celebrities and entertainment, if a Lindsay Smith in say, Peoria violates her DWI probation, it won’t get extensive news coverage; maybe a short blurb in the local newspaper. But when Lindsay Lohan violates her probation, it becomes a national obsession.” Read more.