Saturday, May 05, 2007

Paris Hilton is in trouble again....does anyone care?

For about 12 hours or so, the main story on many news websites was Paris Hilton. Apparently, a judge sentenced her to 45 days of jail. Why? She drove with a suspended license, in violation of her parole. In case you don't remember - or don't care - she was involved in an alcohol-related traffic incident not too long ago. Actually, she's been involved in several, it's just this last one that REALLY counted. Anyway, she got hit with her sentence, and then her mother threw a little tantrum over it.

At this point, does anyone really care about Paris Hilton? Even if it's a slow news day, this is the kind of story news organizations should bury.

Actually, the AP went one better (or at least tried to ) back on February 13:

"Next week the print team is planning an unconventional experiment: We are NOT going to cover Paris Hilton.

“Barring any major, major news, we are not going to put a single word about Paris on the wire,” the memo continued. “If something does come up, big or small, we encourage discussions on whether we should write about it.”

“Hopefully we will be able to discuss what ‘news’ we missed...the repercussions of our blackout for AP both editorially and business-wise, and most importantly the force that cause the world to be fixated on this person who, despite her shallow frivolity, represents an epochal development in our culture.”

That was the entertainment editor's e-mail to his co-workers. The experiment ended when Paris was arrested for driving without a license.

Can't these websites found some better news to use? I guess this one's special because she may actually go to jail, unless her lawyers can pull some other trick out, but what's the interest in these stories? Celebrity gossip is always popular, but how many people are actually dying to hear more news about her, much less, another story about another driving incident?

In Methods, they keep hammering it into us that we're suppose to report stories that bring in a certain audience, but at what point can we wonder if that audience is worth getting, if that story's worth telling, if what we have is even worth showing?

The New York Times picked this off the AP wires:

"One fan, Joshua Capone, wrote to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking him to intervene and keep Hilton out of jail.

"'She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives,' Capone wrote in a letter to Schwarzenegger posted online on Hilton's myspace page."

Please, please, PLEASE let this be a sarcastic joke...I need SOME faith in humanity...


At Saturday, May 05, 2007, Blogger MK said...

Paris is an "easy get." She must have the greatest publicist in the world because she is ALWAYS being covered. The AP's experiment was - well, I was going to say noble but I don't think it was. Readers and viewers like celebrity news and this is a debate we've been dealing with and will probably always be dealing with - cotton candy or broccoli? News about Paris Hilton seems to be on of the biggest offenders and her case is even more troubling because she is famous for being famous. What makes her potential jail time any more important or worth covering than anyone else's? Nothing. Except that she has more money. A fault of journalism is covering things driven by the money involved, and not financial transactions. Like moths to light, journalists seem to be attracted to money. Something to be careful about when choosing stories.


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