Old Parameters/New Tricks: The Place of Celebrity Journalism in Persona Construction (and What We Might Do About It)

  • Bethany Usher Newcastle University, UK
Keywords: journalism, celebrity, persona

Abstract

Celebrity journalism is a founding discourse for the construction of persona. As the first mass-circulated media, journalism made celebrity a “very public form of discourse about the dimensions of what is public and what is private, and ultimately what is intimate” (Marshall 2014, p. xii). It created parameters for the construction and visibility of different facets of self-identity in public spheres (Connell 1992; Hartley 1996), which often perpetuate inequalities of social structures through offering narrow versions of self, for example against the priorities of capital (Littler 2004; Couldry 2000, 2002). This created an incessant focus on self-fulfilment through consumerism and display of consumption as if this was an accurate public reflection of who we are (Marshall 1997, 2010; deCordova 1990). As journalism naturalised and rationalised celebrity, together they created tools through which public personas became powerful cultural signifiers and props of the socio-economic and political systems in which we live. Celebrity journalism is a principal and founding characteristic of these systems, our collective understandings of self-identity within them, how we perform this to others, and the mediation of these things. As a genre, celebrity journalism ties together the contradictions of public and private dichotomies of capitalist democracies and humanises our place in it all. Journalism and celebrity helped develop the fabric of persona, establishing threads of politics and commerce, ordinary people made extraordinary through media rituals, interwoven public and private spheres, the constructions of reality and the celebration and contestation of new ideologies.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Bethany Usher, Newcastle University, UK

Deputy Head of Department, Media Culture and Heritage

References

Connell, I 1992, ‘Personalities in the Popular Media’, in P Dalghren and C Sparks (eds) Journalism and Popular Culture, London, Sage, pp. 64–84.

Couldry, N 2000, Inside Culture, London, Sage.

Couldry, N 2002, ‘Playing for Celebrity: Big Brother as a Ritual Event’, Television and New Media, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 295–310.

deCordova, R 1990, Picture Personalities: The Emergence of the Star System in America, Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press.

Hartley, J 1996 Popular Reality: Journalism, Modernity, Popular Culture, London, Arnold.

Marshall, PD 2014, ‘Celebrity in the Digital Era: A New Public Intimacy’, in Celebrity and Power, 2nd edn, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Littler, J 2004, ‘Celebrity and ‘Meritocracy’, Soundings: A Journal for Politics and Culture, vol. 26, pp. 118–130.

Usher, B 2020, Journalism and Celebrity, Routledge, London.

Usher, B 2019, ‘The Celebrified Columnist and the Opinion Spectacle: Production, Performance and Purpose’, Journalism Studies, Online, https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884919897815.

Usher, B 2018a, ‘Rethinking Microcelebrity: Key Points in Practice, Performance and Purpose’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, pp 171-188.

Usher, B. (ed) 2018b, The State of the Media, Byline Media, London.

Usher, B 2016, ‘ME, YOU, and US: Constructing Political Persona on Social Networks during the 2015 UK General Election’, Persona Studies vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 19-41.

Usher, B 2015, ‘Twitter and the Celebrity Interview’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 306-21.

Published
2020-12-10
How to Cite
Usher, B. (2020). Old Parameters/New Tricks: The Place of Celebrity Journalism in Persona Construction (and What We Might Do About It). Persona Studies, 6(1), 3-5. https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2020vol6no1art978
Section
Perspectives on Persona