Changing the Face of News: the Reporter as a Celebrity

Sarah Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The role of the journalist is to be an independent voice, informing and reporting on events objectively. But, in a celebrity-driven culture and within a medium that calls for entertainment and big ratings, television news is evolving into an extended drama, with journalists taking the leading role. This paper will explore the changing role of the television journalist, focusing on those who appear to be taking on the role of a celebrity. With magazine deals, public speaking opportunities and reality television, the television journalist is becoming a celebrity to the point where the public know more about their private life than their public life. The paper will argue that, if a television journalist reaches this level of recognition, the way we understand their ability to do their job has changed. In theory, a reporter’s role is to present an objective view-point and report on a real situation, but is that story received differently if it is presented by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a familiar face who reportedly has a contract worth USD $4million for this role? The analysis will draw on the author’s personal experience in television journalism to understand how a reporter can become part of the story, which, in turn, can affect the judgment of the reporter and how this is received by the audience. This paper will include material based on journalists who have played themselves in fictional television shows and films to understand how this has changed the way they work and whether they believe it has affected the audience’s perception of the credibility and stature of the reporter. The State of the News Media Report found that in the last year, cable news in the United States had seen audience ratings fall by 13.7%, despite investments in the celebrity anchors and star reporters. This paper will argue that we need to develop more tools to understand the relationship between the journalists, their celebrity status, the impact upon the story they are covering and a celebrity-obsessed, media-savvy public.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSearch for the Real: Authenticity and the Construction of Celebrity
EditorsAndrew J. Sepie
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
ISBN (Print)978-1-84888-253-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

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  • Television journalist
  • celebrity news
  • infotainment
  • role of celebrity


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