Crossover Acts

Monday, October 10, 2011

A growing trend in today’s journalism is for reporters to not only inform, but entertain. Is this cross over between professional journalist and entertainer enhancing or hindering the world of media?

Recently acclaimed journalist Anderson Cooper participated in spray tanning with reality TV star Snooki. Regardless of your views of Cooper you can feasibly ask yourself, “Is this ‘news’ worthy of Mr. Cooper’s time?” Cooper has reported in countries all around the world on various topics, so why is he spending time with Snooki?

The answer, as put forth by Misty Harris of the Montreal Gazette is that today’s journalists seek to be not only reliable, but relate-able. After all, the public will stop paying attention if the news has nothing to say that interests them.

However, in some cases, the argument could be made that this sought after trait does not help, but rather hinders. Harris refers to Nancy Clark’s recent participation in the show “Dancing With The Stars” and how the events, such as her now infamous wardrobe malfunction, may actually have hindered her credibility as a journalist.

The switch from professional journalist to entertainer is not a new trend. Barbra Walters, Katie Couric, and Geraldo Rivera have all walked the line between serious journalist and entertainer.

Is such relate-ability a necessary trait for professional journalist? Or, does attempting to be an entertainer actually hinder these professionals credibility as journalists?


David Wiley October 10, 2011 at 6:05 PM  

I think that most of the time it hinders their journalistic career. Too many people get grouped into the "entertainer" category, and there is a fine line between getting a story and getting something for entertainment value. Spray tanning with Snooki is certainly an attempt at getting entertainment value.

If consumers of the news would rather read about the spray tanning of a celebrity than something that is actually important and meaningful, then forget about them. It infuriates me that people care more about celebrities and gossip than about the world they live in.

The more people who cross into the entertainer category, the less respect that the journalism world as a whole will have. We'll know a play by play on what Lindsey Lohan is drinking as it happens, but it'll take three days to learn about a tsunami in Japan. I can see things trending in that direction, and I hate it.

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