Media ‘Photoshopping’ bill proposed


It’s no secret that fashion campaigns and celebrity photo-shoots aren’t released to the public until every aspect is perfected through the art of Photoshop. People in the media look flawless and are usually airbrushed from head to toe.

An example of a Photoshopped image (Courtesy of Google images)

An example of a Photoshopped image (Courtesy of Google images)

Although certain companies like American Eagle are attempting to break through this long-used system and tradition of heavily Photoshopping models and celebrities to make them look impossibly perfect, there are still far too many companies using these techniques.

Youth nowadays are very impressionable, and the percentage of eating disorders and self harm among teens is unfortunately not getting any lower. This issue doesn’t only affect youth, as it can be applicable to people of all ages, even surpassing gender barriers.

People are being exposed to unattainable images of beauty, as they are fabricated through technology and appear almost inhuman. Some bodies are skewed to the point where it is scientifically and biologically impossible.

In an effort to reconcile the wrongs that Photoshop is causing in modern-day society, lawmakers have co-sponsored a bi-partisan bill that would make misleading Photoshopped pictures illegal.

A before and after example of Photoshopping (Courtesy of Google images)

A before and after example of Photoshopping (Courtesy of Google images)

The bill, called the “Truth in Advertising Act,” was introduced by Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Democratic Representative Lois Capps.

This act would require the Federal Trade Commission to report on any “materially change [in] the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.”

It would also require the regulatory body to work with health and business professionals and experts to establish a set of standardized and safe practices when it comes to altering images.

The bill’s introductory paragraph supports the aforementioned fact that these images are enabling eating disorders.

“The dissemination of unrealistic body standards has been linked to eating disorders … [and] has a particularly destructive health effect on children and teenagers.”

Capps expressed that the legislation seeks to reduce the amount of Photoshopped images on the market, as they are negatively affecting young people, especially girls.

“Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,” said Capps. “And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.”

This bill sounds too good to be true. We’re in an age where no ad or image slips by without being retouched in some shape or form. This society is in too deep with Photoshopping, and I foresee quite a bit of backlash coming from many different sources in various industries if this bill goes through.

Teen asks Netflix to prom via Twitter


The latest trend on social media among teenagers seems to be prom-asking, modernly known as a “promposal.” However, this trend doesn’t occur among each other. Rather, there’s been a spike in gutsy teens asking their favorite celebrities to prom via Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

With the emergence of social media sites such as Twitter, where fans are able to communicate with their favorite celebrities, there has been a rise in celebrity-fan communication.

Celebrities and famous companies gets millions of tweets a day, and obviously not all of them are answered or seen. However, sometimes some people get lucky and their dreams come true.

This was the case with Muthana Sweis, a 17-year-old from Chicago who asked Netflix, a popular streaming company, via Twitter if the company would go with him to his junior prom if his tweet got 1,000 retweets.

While many would think this is odd, Sweis became the most popular guy in his high school for his unique stunt.

“How is a movie website going to escort my baby brother to prom?” asked Sweis’s sister.

Good question. It turns out that Netflix agreed and decided to give Sweis a bunch of cool accessories and clothing from iconic movies and TV shows.

Did I also mention that they hooked him up with James Bond’s “Skyfall” tux and the 1950s Buick from “Grease?” Not too shabby at all. They also gave him the choice of a chauffeur along with choosing his tux and ride.

Naturally, he chose a Danny Zuko look-alike.

Muthana Sweis's tweet promposal to Netflix (Courtesy of HuffingtonPost).

Muthana Sweis’s tweet promposal to Netflix (Courtesy of HuffingtonPost).

Netflix sent a camera crew to the teen’s hometown and followed him to prom. When he arrived, nearly every student jumped at the chance of snapping an Instagram picture of him and, of course, with him.

Final verdict? I guess Netflix will no longer be associated with being that site where you binge-watch shows on when you’re not feeling social. This also proved to be an excellent and nontraditional marketing strategy.

Netflix's response to Sweis's tweet (Courtesy of HuffingtonPost).

Netflix’s response to Sweis’s tweet (Courtesy of HuffingtonPost).

This exciting tale definitely displays the positives of social media and the benefits of being able to communicate more freely with popular celebrities and companies that you’d likely never meet otherwise.

Muthana managed to make his prom night truly unforgettable, by requesting something he probably didn’t even know was possible. This just leaves everyone else kicking themselves and thinking “why didn’t I think of that first?!”

James Franco scandal: Publicity stunt?


It’s no surprise that one’s privacy is becoming almost non-existent in this social media day and age.

Celebrities, especially, face major issues with their privacy being violated as there are paparazzi on virtually every corner waiting to snap a shot of their daily activities — no matter how trivial.

Many celebrities try to maintain private lives and tend to not divulge much personal information to the news media. However, some are known for their attention-seeking nature and try to pull publicity stunts to garner more fame.

This seems to be the question with the latest story involving a celebrity and a social media woe that has been unfolding for the past two days.

Actor James Franco, 35, allegedly exchanged phone conversations with a 17-year-old Scottish girl asking her to meet him at a hotel in New York.

Images of the phone conversation surfaced online shortly thereafter, as the girl was eager to share the evidence of conversing with a celebrity, placing Franco in a very awkward and unwanted position.

Screenshots of the Instagram video that fueled the scandal (Photo courtesy of HollywoodLife).

Screenshots of the Instagram video that fueled the scandal (Photo courtesy of HollywoodLife).

She’s since then deleted all of her social media accounts, no doubt due to the overwhelming attention she’s been receiving thanks to this scandal. However, pictures of the leaked conversation are still swirling around the Web.

Their interaction reportedly began when the Scottish teen, Lucy Clode, met Franco outside of his Broadway show, “Of Mice & Men.” She took an Instagram video of him and he reportedly told her to “tag him.”

They exchanged messages where Franco allegedly asked her how old she was, when her 18th birthday was, and what hotel she was staying at.

Franco then appeared on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” on Friday night and addressed the scandal.

One of the leaked conversations via Instagram. (Photo courtesy of HollywoodLife)

One of the leaked conversations via Instagram. (Photo courtesy of HollywoodLife)

“I mean I guess, you know, I’m embarrassed, and I guess I’m just a model of, you know, how social media is tricky,” said James Franco. “It’s a way people meet each other today. But what I’ve learned I guess just because I’m new to it is like, you don’t know who’s on the other end. You meet somebody in person and you get a feel for them but you don’t know who you’re talking to, and, you know? So I used bad judgment. I learned my lesson.”

The final question here is if this was a publicity stunt or if Franco actually used bad judgement and became another victim of social media. On the same day that the scandal occurred, the official trailer for his new film, “Palo Alto” hit the Web. Some people think it’s ironic that both things happened on the same day, leading many to believe that it’s a hoax for publicity.

Regardless of the final verdict, this incident clearly exemplifies the darker, more negative side of social media. Once something is released through social media, it’s irretrievable. Although the teen erased her social media accounts, the leaked conversations and photos exchanged are plastered all over the web, and it seems like this incident won’t be long soon forgotten.

A 24-hour cupcake ATM? Yes, please!


Have you ever dreamed of being able to dispense a delicious cupcake from a machine, while strolling the streets of New York City? If so, your dream has come true.

Sprinkles, a Los Angeles-based bakery, recently installed a cupcake-dispensing ATM on New York’s Upper East Side and it’s everything you never knew you were missing in your life. Did I mention that it’s fully functional 24 hours of the day to satisfy your sweet tooth at any hour?

If you’re not in the mood for cupcakes, the machine also dispenses cookies. In true Los Angeles & New York City fashion, it also dishes out dog treats so your pampered pup doesn’t feel left out of the party.

The sweet machine apparently holds up to 760 pastries, which are restocked daily to ensure maximum freshness. There are 20 different flavors ranging from red velvet, Cuban coffee, banana dark chocolate, and cinnamon sugar.

Shelling out $4.50 for a delectable cupcake doesn’t seem so bad when you’re saving yourself time in line at a bakery. Plus, who can stop themselves from trying out an ATM machine that pops out mouth-watering treats?

As you’ve probably guessed, this hot ticket machine is receiving crowds of people lining up to get a taste. The company has done an excellent job in creating an innovative way to get people to try their product. How many people would turn down the opportunity to try out the a revolutionary cupcake dispensing ATM machine?

There’s a certain sense of excitement in watching your cupcake appear before you that speaks to the inner child in all of us. The best part is that the fact that you receive your cupcake from a machine doesn’t take away the personal touches you’d be getting in a bakery. A sort of mechanical curtain raises, and you see your cupcake perfectly perched atop a little tray, beautifully tucked inside a decorative box with the company’s logo on top.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.13.43 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 6.54.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 7.12.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 7.12.46 PMSocial media have been creating a huge buzz and are aiding in promoting the bakery’s latest invention, bringing in new customers every day.

News reporters have been crowding around the machine since its opening, eager to get shots of this novel way of purchasing bakery-made treats.

People and news companies have also been taking to Twitter to express their love of this machine.

A Twitter-based news account, NowThisNews, posted a stop-motion vine showing people how the machine works.

Other news accounts tweeting about this fascinating machine include HuffPostStyle, ABCNews, and Wall Street Journal.

What are you waiting for?

Hop into a cab and make your way over to 61st and Lexington Avenue to indulge in this highly innovative way to eat delectable, gourmet cupcakes!

Did Gaga’s performance go too far?


There are many artists who leave their marks on society, be it in good or bad ways.

From the moment Lady Gaga stepped on the scene, we knew she was going to go down in music history as one of the most outspoken stars we’d seen in a while. Her crazy on-stage performance antics and theatrics and her outpouring of support for LGBT rights amassed her millions of fans that she endearingly calls her “little monsters.”

Recently, an event called South by Southwest took place in Austin, Texas, from March 11-16. It is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals that take place every year.

One would think there was enough drama and buzz at SXSW after a drunken driving incident left several people dead. Then, American rapper, Tyler the Creator allegedly started a riot that turned violent and was arrested during the festivities.

As if these events weren’t enough to put SXSW on the map, Lady Gaga came out and gave a performance that left many people enraged when she allowed a vomiting performance artist throw up on her onstage during her song.

In the middle of her performance, vomiting performance artist, Millie Brown, began to regurgitate a green liquid all over Lady Gaga’s chest and body.

Lady Gaga responded to criticism over her highly controversial performance by declaring it “art in its purest form.”

Many people disagreed. While some were merely disgusted by the vomiting, others took deep offense to what they believed her performance signified and glorified.

Much like the “Cutting For Bieber,” catastrophe that happened a while ago, fans of the artist took to Twitter and other social media sites to post pictures of themselves with their hands in their mouths, resembling the act of vomiting to support their favorite singer.

This led to an angry online petition, and celebs such as Demi Lovato accusing Gaga of “glamorizing eating disorders.”

One of Demi Lovato's many tweets.

One of Demi Lovato’s many tweets.

Lovato took to Twitter to express her shock at the incident to her 21.4 million followers.

“Sad …. As if we didn’t have enough people glamorizing eating disorders already. Bottom line, it’s not ‘cool’ or ‘artsy’ at all,” she tweeted. “Would you let someone bring a needle and shoot up on you? Addiction is addiction.”

She then directed a tweet to Lady Gaga herself and said, “you’re SO talented, if not one of the most talented in our industry PERIOD. Dope is INCREDIBLE.. but you don’t have to do that.”

“I guess we weren’t completely surprised,” said Gaga. “[Millie Brown] and I know that not everybody’s going to love that performance…we don’t make things for any intention in particular other than in the spirit of entertaining the crowd and creating something that is really for the moment.”

At the end of the day, some things are just not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I do believe that sometimes artists cross the line. You can love an artist and enjoy their music. But when they make mistakes and blur the lines between acceptable and distasteful, something has to be said.

The power of social media showed through as millions of people took to Twitter especially to vent about the issue. Whether it was Lady Gaga’s “Little Monsters” defending her and bashing Demi Lovato, or Demi Lovato’s “Lovatics,” retaliating, Twitter blew up with mentions of this unforgettable incident.

Prankvertising market strategy spreads


Prankvertising is the name of the latest marketing fad sweeping the web.

Hidden cameras are strategically placed around the world, aiming to record people’s reactions to completely unexpected situations and spooky encounters.

A new company, Thinkmodo, has attempted to take over the market for young viewers that are most involved with viral videos.

Their most recent ad for the movie, “Devil’s Due,” garnered more than 35 million views on YouTube within the first seven days of being uploaded. The video spread like wildfire on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Another popular ad from this company was their successful marketing ploy for the horror film titled, “Carrie.” Cameras were hidden inside a coffee shop in New York City and an actress appeared to be using telekinetic powers to throw objects and people (other actors) against a wall in rage.

The customers, unaware of the setup, were seen fleeing and swearing, seeking cover from this deranged woman who appeared to possess magical powers. Visual effects were also used to further enhance the mayhem.

This bizarre and unique marketing tactic achieved wonders as it increased awareness and promoted the movie greatly.

Another interesting part of this is that the company includes the behind-the-scenes footage where production crew members are seen setting up the prank. This pulls the viewer in from the start and grabs their attention for the duration of the video to see the results.

This novel marketing tactic is clearly serving its intended purpose, which is to use creativity to attract viewers and promote products and ideas. This emerges at a perfect time, as social media has compromised the average person’s attention span.

Additionally, the influx of advertisements seen everywhere — on buses, pop-up ads online, YouTube ads, for example — are flustering many consumers. People are beginning to ignore advertisements since they are too rampant and ubiquitous, diverting people’s attention elsewhere.

Prankvertising is a refreshing way to market as people are drawn in without reservations or restrictions since it’s spontaneous. People are demanding alternatives to traditional branding, and it’s an excellent way to utilize the power of the World Wide Web.

Thinkmodo founders James Percelay and Michael Krivicka, for content to go viral, the idea within it has to be really new. It has to be engaging and easy to search for. Since it’s new, you will find it when you search for it as there’s no other video like it.

I think this is an excellent strategy and it comes at a time where it will be most well received. We share videos through various social media outlets on a daily basis across countries. People love to see how others react to humorous or frightful situations, and our curiosities are piqued when the circumstances are as unique and unprecedented as this new marketing strategy.

Instafame and social relationships


“Wait, wait, wait! Let me take a picture of the sushi before you eat it. My followers are going to love how artsy it looks.”

Sounds familiar, right? Welcome to the age of Microfame and Instafame.

Not sure what that is? It’s simple, really. Social media and internet fame is sweeping the world.

With the influx of social media applications at our fingertips, regular people are becoming overnight celebrities by simply uploading five-second videos to Vine containing their daily shenanigans.

Being a celebrity used to involve the overwhelming process of going through auditions, facing rejection, living on low salary jobs just to pay the rent while you struck gold in Hollywood. Now, however, television and movies aren’t the only platforms that exist, and becoming famous isn’t as difficult as it used to be at least when it comes to social media notoriety.

With this platform, it’s easier to form some sort of connection with social media celebrities as opposed to famous Hollywood actors who rarely are able to reply back. Applications such as Vine, Instagram and Kik give users the option to answer their fans on a personal level.

“It’s a new kind of celebrity landscape because they can also reply back to you and it creates a more intimate connection,” said Jo Piazza, executive news director of In Touch and Life & Style magazines.

A documentary titled “Instafame” is going around Vimeo and it follows the life of Shawn Megira, a 15-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., who has more than 81,000 followers on Instagram.

His mom explains that she’s seen masses of fangirls crowd around him whenever they go out in public, only because they recognize him from his Instagram pictures.

I’ve seen countless Facebook friends post pictures with Instagram or Vine celebrities as well, and it begs the question of how social media fame affects teens and how it will affect them in the long run.

“It’s a very strong high. They’re getting a lot of attention but it’s not fulfilling what they deeply need and want in terms of this kind of human connection,” said Niobe Way, professor of psychology at New York University.

This social media is also creating a sense of validation for many people. Receiving 100 likes on an Instagram picture makes people feel good about themselves and gives them self worth. They feel validated by a group of peers or fans.

Another possible issue is that people seem to be living in the social media moment instead of basking in real life events. We all have at least one friend who cannot go a day without Instagramming a picture of their breakfast. Or another the friend that stops their car on the side of the road (or even worse, snaps a picture while driving) to take a picture of the sunset because they know that when they add a filter, their friends and followers are going to love it.

Is social media negatively affecting the way humans interact with each other? Are we wasting precious moments with loved ones while we snap the artsiest pictures for our followers? Is microfame the new sensation or is it just a dwindling fad?

Time will tell for the latter, as this topic is fairly new and the effects cannot yet be measured. In terms of the former, many people would argue that while social media bridges the gaps between people in different countries and facilitates communication, it is also playing a big role in making people antisocial.

Is Miley Cyrus taking things too far?


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Miley Cyrus? Eight years ago, one would most likely begin to hum the tune of the catchy song “Best of Both Worlds.” As of late, however, most of us are thinking rather “what in the world is she doing?”

It’s no secret that being in constant scrutiny by the media is agonizing and unbearable for some celebrities as we’ve seen countless stars spiral into drug abuse and eating disorders, as well as rebellious stages where they become hardcore partiers.

Narrowing the category of celebrities to teen stars or Disney stars, one begins to see a recent influx of child stars gone bad.

“High School Musical” sweetheart, Vanessa Hudgens’ nudes swept the Internet while she was at her pinnacle of fame, and Lindsay Lohan’s been in and out of rehab and court more times than we can count.

Who can forget the recent events surrounding Amanda Bynes’ downward spiral that eventually lead to her being hospitalized under a 5150 mental evaluation hold?

There are too many child or Disney stars gone wrong to mention, but it seems like Miley Cyrus has been one of the biggest shockers for teenagers and adults alike.

When Hannah Montana first aired in 2006, Miley was only 13 years old. She practically skyrocketed to stardom overnight, as Hannah Montana memorabilia was everywhere and concerts were selling out around the world.

After she parted ways with the show, she began to pursue a more serious career dedicated to making music. Her 2009 performance of “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice Awards showed her dancing semi provocatively on a pole and wearing very short shorts. This sparked incredible outrage and people were beginning to question if Miley shed her “good girl Disney image.”

It’s crazy to look back and see how outrageous this event seemed at the time, as it seems completely harmless when comparing it to her recent antics.

It all began with her revolutionary haircut when she chopped off those famous long locks. Her new edgy look wasn’t well received by all, but she still seemed like the same Miley we grew up with on the show.

The criticism she is getting lately is not because she cut her hair or because she wears revealing clothing. It lies in the fact that she seems to be taking this new persona to a completely different level. She is crossing the line between tasteful and raunchy; socially acceptable and overtly provocative and lascivious.

It seems that this sexual persona emerged and began to blow up social media internationally over the summer when she released her music video for “We Can’t Stop.” She twerked, made drug references, repeatedly stuck out her tongue (it seems to be her favorite facial expression lately), and officially waved goodbye to Hannah Montana.

Then came the unforgettable 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance with Robin Thicke, which made every newspaper headline for the next few days. She came out in some sort of rubber two-piece that left very little to the imagination, as she danced provocatively with Thicke while thrusting a foam finger in a very blatant sexual manner.

Her next music video was for “Wrecking Ball,” where she was completely naked save for a pair of worn-down boots. She also thought it best to provocatively lick a hammer several times.

The latest news is of her Bangerz Tour. She has truly pushed the envelope even further. Did you think the VMA performance was full of sexual innuendos? Just take a look at some of the pictures of her suggestively touching her body intimately all while donning a marijuana patterned leotard from her recent concerts.

Twerking with midgets, suggestively rubbing her body, glorifying drug use (she lit up a blunt on stage at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards), having souvenir $40 gold embellished rolling papers for pot lovers and opening her concert as she slides down a large than life version of her tongue are all in store at the 2014 Bangerz Tour should you choose to attend.

It’s reportedly so sexual and inappropriate that parents all over are calling for cancellations, and Forbes magazine reports that her salacious stage antics may be affecting ticket sales.

Overall, I don’t mean to offend anyone who supports Miley or her music. I’ll admit that her songs are quite catchy and I find myself listening to them sometimes.

She is an adult and she is at liberty to live her life as she pleases. However, she also needs to remember that she has amassed a fan base over the years of teenage girls who are looking to her as a role model. Unfortunately, it’s what comes with the fame. She can’t act like a normal girl her age without it showing up on the news the next day.

I am in no position to understand the pressures of growing up in Hollywood, but if Hilary Duff was able to come out of a very successful Disney channel show and still pursue music and acting, along with getting married and having a child, it seems as though Miley may have taken things a bit too far.

Click the link to see the provocative pics:!-image-22/

Risk gene tied to Olympic athletes?


With the Olympic Winter Games well under way, it seems fitting to draw comparisons with its counterpart: the Olympic Summer Games.

While the summer games boast more athletes and a greater variety of events, the winter games exhibit an uncanny amount of risk-taking.

We watch 15-year-olds being thrown feet off the ice and perform pirouettes in the air, all while placing their safety in their partners hands.

Our jaws drop as we watch 17-year-olds ski 90 miles an hour down a steep hill that spans more than four football fields in length.

Our knuckles clench and turn white as we anxiously grip the edges of our seats while watching 26-year-olds rocket down icy sheets with their faces just mere inches from the solid surface.

While watching, most people are thinking something along the lines of “Are these people crazy?” Or “I would never be able to do that.”

The risks these athletes take on a daily basis are monumental and can be fatal in many cases.

Is this need for speed inherent? Former alpine ski racer, Todd Brooker seems to think so. He thinks “it’s just part of your life. It’s something you’re born with.”

In fact, he may actually be onto something.

For the past two decades, scientists have known of the existence of a risk gene, and they say that one in five of us possess the genetic marker.

Steve Perino, the ski reporter for NBC at the Sochi games, mentioned speed addiction in his coverage. Science supports this phenomenon by claiming that it is based on the chemical reaction that this type of risk taking behavior produces in the brain.

It would seem to make sense that something ingrained in our biological makeup would be the force behind some people’s complete lack of fear when it comes to performing tasks that most humans wouldn’t dare try.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a physician who covers health and medicine for NBC, said, “There’s a reason why some of us are spectators and others are Formula One drivers.”

How else can it be explained that some people perform death-defying acrobatics on a sharply inclined snowy hill that’s more than 30 stories tall, while others can’t even jump off a diving board that’s four feet off the ground?

In my opinion, it seems to make sense that there is a scientific reason as to why many of us are spectators, while a select few of us are in Sochi right now skiing down steep hills at over 80 mph. However, it also makes me think about how it will affect the games in an ethical way if people begin to get tested for such a gene.

The brilliance of the Olympics is watching teenagers and adults alike performing acts that many of us will never come close to executing. It’s seeing how they grew up miles or continents away from us and one day decided to pick up a snowboard when they were toddlers.

There’s an outpouring of heartfelt stories where we see athletes as two-year-olds diving into a pool for the first time, realizing they had a love for the water and then watching them stand on the podium with a gold medal in hand years later — proud of themselves, their determination, their hard work, and most importantly confident in their choice of pursuing these sports.

If people are able to test themselves for the gene, what’s going to happen if the only Olympians we see are those who tested positively and use that fact as their sole motivation? Will we still admire their courageousness and passion?

While very interesting, I believe that this gene may rid the Olympic Games of its very essence — becoming an athlete based on passion, love and dedication to the sport. Because you believe that you are capable of defying odds and taking risks. Not because some machine confirmed that you’re genetically made for something greater.

So what’s the final verdict? Can this extraordinary defiance of fear be founded upon science? Are Olympians destined to become risk-takers from birth? Is there a concrete, scientific reason that explains why we don’t all become Olympians? And most importantly, what will happen to the Olympics if people begin to test themselves for the risk gene?

Credibility issues grow with gossip


The evolution and progression of social media have paved the path for novel ways to share news.

News sources are no longer limited to articles on websites or television programs. Outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have become sources for people to check the goings on around the world.

While it’s very convenient to be able to scroll through a Twitter feed and receive news, it isn’t always the most reliable way to secure accurate details. Twitter is a conversational, flow of thoughts type of outlet. People generate countless tweets in minutes, each reporting further details as more information is discovered and facts can be disproved within seconds. Another issue is the source of the news. Different news outlets inevitably stand out as more verifiable than others based on past credibility as well as the type of news they’re associated with.

A tweet from a reporter at CNN or Huffington Post is likely to be a very accurate source when seeking error-free and immediate news. Although some major news outlets provided some false information in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing last April, this can be attributed to the mere fact that reporting at an instant amid such a chaotic event prioritizes fast news rather than deliberate research to verify all facts.

Contrastingly, news outlets known for celebrity gossip such as TMZ come into question when searching for reliable news. When actor Paul Walker tragically died suddenly in a car accident last November, many celebrity gossip outlets immediately sent out a slew of tweets announcing his death. Facts were stated then retracted, later restated and retracted once again. False information was released as the article was published amidst the investigation, while many facts were still unknown. Many people tweeted that they refused to believe the news until a more reputable source confirmed it. Sure enough, after news sources such as The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post confirmed it, people began to send their condolences via Twitter and Facebook. Many people also went on to criticize and point out the multitude of inconsistencies present in the TMZ story after reading the complete, factual account from other more credible news outlets.

The same situation occurred this past week with the recent unexpected death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Drug-related deaths tend to be very sudden and unanticipated, and people don’t accept the facts until they see confirmation on reputable news sources and televised news programs. In this case, TMZ was among the first news outlets to break the tragic story. Many people refused to believe it as there were rumors of a death hoax surrounding Hoffman before his actual passing. A while after TMZ broke the story people finally began to accept the news when The Wall Street Journal tweeted confirmation.

A journalist’s credibility is of utmost importance as no publication or outlet wants to be associated with a reporter whose credibility comes into question. Aside from TMZ, there are countless websites that report mainly gossip or focus on entertainment news rather than hard news. With the Internet, the line between what is real and what is a hoax has become incredibly hazy. Many news websites don’t pride themselves on accuracy and focus instead on delivering scandalous news that will appeal to readers.

Magazines such as Ok! and Star sell out on stands because people want to indulge in some quick gossip. However, when it comes to seeking out serious news people want nothing to do with them.

So, while we enjoy indulging in our guilty pleasures and reading celebrity gossip, perhaps their topics of coverage have garnered them an unfortunate position of incredibility when it comes to reporting serious news. While social media sites have been vital in advancing the way in which reporters deliver immediate news, they have also been instrumental in exposing people to the fact that news may not always be verifiable and not all sources can or should be trusted blindly. Should TMZ strictly stick to reporting the whereabouts and affairs of Hollywood’s starlets and leave the serious work for CNN, The Wall Street Journal and the like? Many people seem to think it best.