Entertainment journalism has shifted wildly in the last decade under the influence of big corporations and instant internet coverage. To provide us context for the wild west of new celebrity journalism, we speak with EW and People editor Richard Sanders.
From the Sandusky trial and sensational cover stories, to substance abuse coverage and Time Warner’s corporate interests, we get to the key points that direct coverage. Richard pulls few punches and is an insightful reference.
Richard Sanders worked as an Executive Editor at Entertainment Weekly for 11 years and (in two separate stints) at People magazine and people.com for 12 years. He often speaks to young journalists and offers himself up as an example for inspiration—as a guy who spent time in jail, rehab and a psych ward, and somehow went on to become a successful editor at Time Inc., and managed to stay sane and alive.
He’s tried to reflect his experiences his eight thrillers, the latest of which is Dead Time Story.
He’s been married for 42 years to his wife, Laurie—without whose help, he says, he wouldn’t be alive. They live in Garden City, N.Y.
00:01 Media Mayhem introduction.
00:40 Welcoming Richard Sanders.
02:25 Story of the Week: the Sandusky Trial.
06:43 The reasons the Sandusky trial will continue to be a sensation.
09:00 The tendency to settle sex abuse allegations with payouts.
10:47 Sexual abuse coverage in People magazine.
12:02 The media taking the role of society’s reflector, and where to find news at the vanguard.
13:06 The recent controversial Time magazine covers (breast feeding five year-old), and if there is anything of substance that Time is saying.
15:27 Is print media obsolete for news?
18:03 Is Time magazine a legitimate news source online?
18:52 How has celebrity news changed?
21:15 The public celebrity personae being crafted in different sources.
23:54 Coverage of reality tv ‘stars.’
25:19 Is coverage influenced by the corporate overseers at Time Warner?
29:03 The media becomes its own subject.
30:45 Cover-worthy scandals–the calculation of interest in Pee-Wee Herman.
33:12 The New York Times coverage of the covert war in Iran.
36:31 The inspiration behind “Dead Time Story.”
40:05 The Mayhem Round: Covering substance abuse in celebrities.
42:50 Is there a point that a celebrity gets too self-destructive to cover? Britney Spears.
46:01 Media handling of drug abuse and the ‘bath salt’ phenomenon.
46:42 Norm Perlstein gives up Matt Miller’s notes. The point where the corporation matters more than the journalism.
48:07 Thanks and goodbye!