When Renée Zelwegger stepped out with a new look recently, the media exploded. There were thousands of articles, blog posts and tweets about Renée Zellweger’s changing looks and this made me question how the media reports on celebrities and celebrity culture. When put in a very basic scientific way, scientists say we humans are hard-wired to be fascinated with celebrity, and that our brains receive chemical stimuli that is pleasurable when we see familiar faces, This generates a huge industry for magazines, newspapers and journalists to delve into and produce content for the consumer.
The ‘celebrity culture’ is big business for various forms of media, it gains various front pages and takes up a lot of time on TV programmes that often include the news. It is not surprising any more to see something that happens on a celebrity outing gaining air time on the evening news. American journalist and humorist Mo Rocca, said that ‘more kids know who won the ‘battle of the network stars’ than the civil war’ and the intense level of media reporting on celebrities means that this is ever growing.
Feeley (2012) also comments on the rise of celebrity journalism and the effect that this has had on other industries ‘Celebrity journalism has emerged as powerful tool for the promotion of the entertainment industry as well as a lucrative industry in its own right, as scholars have demonstrated’.
Celebrities presence on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram, give their fans a ‘closeness’ to the fans like never before and only increases the media attention placed on the celebrity. Entertainment shows and print columns often report on tweets that gathered a lot of favourites or an Instagram photo that received a large amount of likes. This tweet from Ellen DeGeneres made news all over the world when breaking the record for retweets
There is no doubt that the obsession with celebrities is ever growing and the public are constantly wanting to consume more and know more information about the day to day life of celebrities. This is something that the media seem extremely keen to satisfy and will only benefit both the media and both the celebrity as their exposure continues to grow.
But is the increasing celebrity coverage meaning that the public are missing out on the more important stories that are going on around the world. Martin Kaplan of the Annenberg School thinks it does, he states “The smaller the hole for hard news, the less likely that people will find out what they need to know about their communities, their country and their world”. The ‘celebrity culture’ that we are seeing evolve over the years, and one that is sure to grow in the future. is making this ‘hole’ grow ever smaller and taking up more and more of the airtime of important news outlets.