Value of Soft News and Celebrity News – ‘It Is [Not] All the Same’: What Celebrity Journalism Can Learn From the ‘Logan Paul Suicide Forest Scandal’
24 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 6, 2019
In the last decade, journalism scholars expanded the scope of journalism studies by seriously researching soft news. However, the value of studying soft news remains controversial based on the thesis that soft news is incompatible with the ‘higher’ journalistic values.
Today, there is evidence showing that soft news can, indeed, entertain and serve ‘higher’ journalistic purposes, such as the reduction of racial/ethnic prejudice. Yet, empirical evidence remains limited to a few soft news genres.
To broaden the evidence base for the compatibility thesis, the study provides an educative case study from the soft news genre of celebrity news (CN). CN was selected because it is one of the increasingly popular soft news genres and it lacks empirical evidence for the compatibility thesis.
Further, the subgenre of celebrity scandal news (CSN) was selected because of the high expected relatability to personal, social, cultural, and economic issues. The ‘Logan Paul Suicide Forest Scandal’ (LPSFS) was selected because it is timely (2018), highly covered (according to Google Trends, Logan Paul was the fourth most-searched person in 2018), thematically complex (involving suicide) case. A purposeful sample of online news articles was collected and thematically analyzed.
The study is a vivid empirical demonstration of the compatibility thesis based on the CN articles that use the LPSFS to explore related serious issues concerning suicide, attention economy and digital culture. Ultimately, research, social and practical implications for future celebrity journalism are discussed based on constructive journalism and transmedia journalism.
Keywords: Soft News, Celebrity News, Celebrity Journalism, Transmedia Journalism, Constructive Journalism, Social Media Celebrities, Case Study, Celebrity Scandal, Public Figure Controversy
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