Jim Carroll

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It’s showbiz time

They may go by different names depending on the publication in question – the showbiz section, the gossip pages, the entertainment diary – but the media’s fascination with documenting the bold-face names and celebrities who turn up week in and …

Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 14:51

   

They may go by different names depending on the publication in question – the showbiz section, the gossip pages, the entertainment diary – but the media’s fascination with documenting the bold-face names and celebrities who turn up week in and week out at launches and parties shows no signs of abating. Even the venerable newspaper behind this website has a showbiz page. It may be called a social diary, but it’s still about covering and photographing folks at launches and parties (a different class of folks and a different class of party, mind).

While some may wonder just what is behind this ongoing mania for covering the same smiling faces week in and week out, you can be sure that the pages would be quickly nixed if there wasn’t a demand from readers for them. In fact, these pages, which have been part and parcel of the media business for decades, are probably more popular with a large swathe of readers than the investigate journalism or political exposes which many in the newsrooms believe are the real pull. Readers have an innate curiosity about the names who pop up in those party photos and want to know what they’re up to. Look at the huge growth in magazines and websites dedicated to chronicling the lives of the rich and famous like Heat, Hello, VIP Ireland, Showbiz Ireland and many, many more. There’s a demand for knowing who was where the night before.

What’s also interesting is to look at the career trajectory of many of those who wrote and edited the more successful showbiz pages. From Piers Morgan to Andy Coulson to Dominic Mohan (all of whom worked on The Sun’s Bizarre desk, which means we should keep an eye on current incumbent Gordan Smart), it’s striking that the UK media world is full of high-profile editors and characters who cut their teeth coaxing gossip from pop stars and models to fill tabloid pages. Perhaps it’s this aspect of the showbiz trade, how to turn idle chit-chat into stories, which have proved ideal for higher office. Or perhaps there are other skills learned at the showbiz coalface which proved invaluable on the move to a corner office.

We’ll be tweaking out all of the above questions and plenty more at the next Banter soiree on The Politics of Showbiz at the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1 on Wednesday next November 21. Our panel for the night features Rosanna Davison (former Miss World, model and columnist), Eoin Murphy (Entertainment Editor, Irish Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday) and Niamh Horan (Sunday Independent). Doors open at 7.30pm, the bantering starts at 8pm and admission is free but you need to sign up to the invite list here.

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