There has been a lot of talk recently about why so many people continue to read “news” stories about celebrities, like Katie Price (aka Jordan) religiously.

While I agree it seems strange at times, the answer is actually very simple: because we want to.

We want to read about Katie Price’s relationships with cross dressing cage fighters. And Charlie Sheen “banging seven gram rocks” (direct quote).

The general public, and consumers of news, love gossip and hearsay (not to be confused with the, erm, band).


Newspapers discovered this a long time ago, and flogged this dead horse for all it’s worth. While the amount of articles published daily about celebs is extreme, don’t blame the media.

Blame society.

Journalists found out just how much readers loved rumours and scandal. This provided an almost magic formula for editors.

While nothing is guaranteed in news (which is why they’re now seemingly dying a death, but more on that later) this is as close to a cash cow as it gets.

This is because of several key factors.

Firstly, it’s cheap to produce. Think about it. When revenues are squeezed, you don’t want to pay for expensive investigatory journalism. You want something quick and easy to produce.

Which celeb news is. You don’t need many sources, many substantiated facts or a lot of copy. All you need is “a close friend” (whatever that really means) and a nice, big pic. Simple.


Secondly, there’s a lot of it. There are more channels than ever. More mags. More bands. Which means more celebs.

So, there’s a constant stream of scandal, arguments and famous people collapsing out of nightclubs. It’s an all you can eat buffet.

Thirdly, it’s easy to read. Whoever you are, you know you’ve read celeb news at some point. From hairdressers to Oxford academics, we’ve all done it. Sad I know.

But it’s easy to consume, because it’s shiny, glossy, simply written and appeals to our bitchy side. Which we all have.

The formula is simple, and makes sense. So you see an article about Charlie Sheen’s meltdown or Katie Price’s new book, feel free to read it. Or ignore it. Just don’t complain.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s empire: Fair or undemocratic?

Gareth Bale and Robots

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news