Seeing as this blog talks a lot about celebrities and all the gloriously wonderful things they do, I tend to quote celebrity news sites a lot, such as TMZ or People. These websites can be extremely useful, as the authors are willing to discuss concepts that other news sites such as CNN are not willing to portray on their public sites. However, I’ve come to realize a few of the flaws that TMZ and People can have. Their information is overall actually relatively credible – their job is to report information, even if the kind of information it is is somewhat sketchy. However, TMZ and People tend to portray certain issues as more important than they really need to be, in order to make money. For example, they obviously hire photographers, who make money taking pictures of a drunk Lindsay Lohan puking on the sidewalk after a party that lasted until three in the morning. The thing is, though, Lindsay Lohan, and this is something I’ve made the mistake of myself, is just one person. She can only be relevant in so many topics of information. There are newer topics out there than Lindsay Lohan being drunk. But why do sites like TMZ and People continue to post her struggles? Because they make money. Lindsay Lohan gets recognition for her actions. She drinks more. More pictures are taken. TMZ makes more money. It’s (to be cliche) a vicious circle of personal embarrassment and money that really leaves the viewer with nothing of any worth whatsoever.
Perhaps what needs to be done more urgently than discuss Lohan’s missteps is to explain the valueable things those working in the tabloid business have done in their lives. Claudia Glenn Dowling illustrates the case of a famous tabloid writer and photographer, Usher Fellig (better known simply as Weegee), who spent a lot of his life capturing the lives of celebrities. An immigrant from the Ukraine, Weegee was not desiring to make a quick buck by abusing a camera in order to portray stars in their most vulnerable moments. Rather, he was simply another foreigner attempting to fulfill the American dream by his own means. Weegee took photos of crimes scenes as well as celebrities, and according to Dowling, many of his photos were considered too horrifying to be printed in public papers.
Therefore, we can make this connection: tabloids are not necessarily a less important form of information reporting. They are another medium of art, used to portray things that are deemed unacceptable or inappropriate for the masses who prefer the more common medium of art (a.k.a, regular newspapers).