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Celebrity and the tabloid press.

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Introduction

CASESTUDY: CELEBRITY & THE TABLOID PRESS To begin to look at how celebrities are represented in the tabloid press, we first need to define what a celebrity is. Celebrities can be defined by three different terms: ascribed, achieved or attributed. How a celebrity achieves their celebrity status affects how they are represented in the tabloids. Ascribed celebrities are celebrities who are 'predetermined'. For example, people such as Prince William are predetermined celebrities; it is in their blood line and simply stems from biological descent. Tabloids treat predetermined celebrities with a level of respect seen rarely in attributed celebrities. The Royal Family, especially in particularly right wing newspapers, will receive a level of respect and are seen as established as patriotic images, which tabloids seem intent on creating. (You only need to look at how English Sporting stars are perceived in the tabloids to understand that patriotism is a key element in representing celebrities in British tabloids). Achieved celebrities are celebrities with rare talents and accomplishments that outshine others. For example, sporting achievements are held extremely highly in tabloid papers, as I've already mentioned. I would say that achieved celebrities especially with sporting achievements, are held highest in the eyes of tabloids. They are seen to "deserve" the limelight thrust upon them. However, despite the level of deserved recognition, should the achieved celebrity slip up the tabloids will revel in their downfall. Attributed celebrities are the ones most represented in tabloid newspapers, and come from mass media saturation and shows such as 'Big Brother' and 'Pop Idol'. They haven't achieved any spectacular feat to be respected or to earn long term celebrity status, and tabloids understand that it is how they, the tabloids, represent them that the public feel about them. For example, in Pop Stars (the most recent one) Michelle, the winner, won not because of her talent but how the tabloids represented her. ...read more.

Middle

John Prescott and Peter Hain have two photos next to which "OUT" is written in capitols and bold type face. If this story is true and not "complete rubbish" as quoted by a Premier's official spokesman, Gordon Brown would not have simply decided to get rid off John Prescott or Peter Hain and decided "OUT". This is an example of how the culture of celebrities from shows such as Pop Idol which relies on "voting out" and show a "getting rid off those you dislike" culture can influence stories about politics and politicians. The Entertainment pages on The Daily Mirror are written by the 3am girls, Jessica Callan, Eva Simpson and Caroline Hedley. The girls write the latest gossip on celebrities spotted drinking, partying, pretty much anything that will add to sales of papers. The celebrities featured in this issue include Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Penny Lancaster and Rachel Hunter, Big Brovaz, Madonna and Elizabeth Jagger. These celebrities are ascribed celebrities, acclaimed due to their amazing talents. However, little is mentioned about these talents and focus is on their personal lives. This can be seen as an intrusion of their privacy however, is this really an issue? Celebrities revel in their status when they are loved by the media and idolised by the public and many celebrities find that "it's great when you are winning, and an unpleasant brand of slow torture when you're losing" - The Guardian. Therefore to produce column-inches in which they hope to steal back the limelight, many celebrities sell their stories to the press and invade their own privacy to win back their celebrity status. However, even celebrities that are still in the limelight know that their status can earn them more money. Celebrity weddings can make the celebrities thousands, even millions of pounds by selling their story and pictures as an exclusive to one magazine, such as Hello. An example of this being the wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, in which the sold pictures and their story for �1m. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader gets a 'snapshot' of the article from the two photographs and the two words accompanying them. And of course the biggest sport celebrity David Beckham has a least one mention in The Sun. The article about Beckham is not even about his sporting achievements but his private life and reads like it should be in the entertainment pages rather than the sport pages. It tells of troubles with his wife after moving abroad and whether he is having trouble in his new team. The article has the feeling that The Sun almost wants him to be unhappy in Spain and to miss England. The Sun has also picked up on a new sporting hero, Steve Harmison the England Cricketer is being nicknames "Grievous Bodily Harmison". This is an example of an achieved sporting player becoming a celebrity. As the tabloids are representing him as a sporting hero - just as they did Wayne Rooney or Johnny Wilkinson - they turn an unknown into a tabloid celebrity. The more the tabloids focus on these sporting 'heroes', the more the public want. "Once the public has a taste, their appetite grows" - BBC1 Tabloid Tales. From the two newspapers I have studied, I can see that celebrities feature widely in tabloid newspapers every day. Celebrities are used to sell copies and therefore often appear on the front cover to attract that public, which have a thirst for celebrities and gossip. B-list Celebrities often use tabloids to promote themselves - Jordan, Shane Richie for example - and tabloids often embellish these stories, receiving information from a "close source" rather than named people that can be held accountable. Therefore, I conclude that celebrities are represented how they choose to be. While newspapers exaggerate facts, the basic stories are there because celebrities want to remain celebrities. The growing obsession with celebrity shows no sign of slowing, as more and more celebrities are being produced by shows such as Big Brother etc, the more and more the public want to see them. 3'078 words Nikki Broadbent 1 ...read more.

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