Why do we report celebrity gossip?


All over Internet news sources and on TV broadcasts today, you’ll probably hear something about “Celebrity Phone Hackings! Nude Photos Leaked!” If you stay up to date with current events, there is really no way you did not hear about this. It’s posted everywhere.

Why should we care that Jennifer Lawrence’s phone was hacked, or that Kate Middleton is pregnant, or that Kris and Bruce Jenner are getting a divorce?

There are people who have built their whole career around reporting celebrity gossip (hello, Perez Hilton.) Yet bloggers, gossip columns, and E! News aren’t the only ones talking about celebrities. The story of Kate Middleton’s second pregnancy was featured on ABC’s World News.

It’s a journalist’s job to help inform people about what’s going on in the world and what the public should generally know. Still, journalists also report what they know people want to hear. Most TV news broadcasts will have some type of human interest piece thrown in, and giving people the low down on what’s happening in Hollywood is an easy way to fill that.

If it’s possible to have a whole station like E! News devoted just to stirring up the celebrity rumor mill, clearly enough people want to know what’s happening in celebrities’ lives. But why?

It’s nice to know that celebrities are people, too. They get divorced, they have their phones hacked, they’re caught with drugs and have to go to court. They’re not untouchable.

Not only that, but everyone knows who these celebrities are, and it’s easy to talk about someone you know. The general public probably isn’t going to care if your cousin is being shipped off to rehab (unless there was some weird twist to thicken the plot of the story,) because they don’t know your cousin. It’s sometimes easy to feel like you actually know someone just because you have seen all of their movies, or watched a few of their interviews on daytime television.

As long as people are still tuning in to hear about celebrity news, reporters are still going to talk about it.