We read tabloids and watch celebrity interviews as if it’s our job — it’s a literal obsession. This week we delved into the talent that brings us our daily dose of celebrity content. Thanks to celebrity journalism (at least the good kind), we get to know our favourite stars up close and personal. This is the one field that allows you to interact with your icons in a fun and glamorous way! Having said that, it’s not always a bed of roses. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes — we’re not saying this, an insider is. This week at Mashion HQ we had the talented celebrity journalist Hira Hyder come in and give us everything from useful tips to insider info – she shared it all with us. If you couldn’t follow the session, here’s what you missed!
1. Tips For Future Journalists
Journalism requires a lot more than just a degree. Personality is key in every way for a celebrity journalist! You have to be curious, have good observation, and know how to make people feel comfortable. Above all, research is key. Reading everything you can get your hands on will prepare you for any potential curveballs thrown your way and also make the celebrity feel like you know what you’re talking about. Hira advises aspiring journalists to first thoroughly research their careers and read about the true grit that goes in order to succeed. Anything that sounds too good to be true, probably is. It’s always better to go in with both eyes open, and as Hira herself said, “There’s a lot of hard work that goes on “behind the scenes” of the final glamorous product.”
2. Read, Read And Read
Your writing is the unmatchable, distinctive skill in journalism that will set you apart from the rest. You’ve got to hone your talent and keep practising different styles of writing. A successful journalism career is founded up the ability to tell a good story. This, however, isn’t a piece of cake. The aim is to engage the audience with your words. Before you sit down to write an impactful piece, keep the following in mind: the five Ws – Who, What, When, Where, Why –, your audience, and the details. While these are the basics of writing, the most obvious piece of advice would be to read. In fact, it’s essential for any kind of writer. It instructs and inspires them. Boxers need to go to the gym and train, and artists need to sketch to stay in practice — similarly, writers need to read. The famous Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize laureate, José Saramago, was once asked about his daily writing routine. He said he writes two pages, and then he reads, and reads, and reads. Our expert also swears by the necessity to read in order to write well. “To become a good writer, one must read – not only to increase vocabulary but to also explore different writing styles, as it will help you to discover your own.”
3. Dealing With Rude Celebrities
Interviewing celebrities is no doubt the most enjoyable aspect of celebrity journalism. However, it’s not always as fun as it seems — especially if the celebrity isn’t exactly the most welcoming. Most famous actors are media trained, but everyone has off days. Those off days are the worst for journalists because they aren’t allowed to be anything short of friendly and enthusiastic. Giving her two cents, Hira explained how she calls them out without being rude and asks them to be polite straight up. “Always remember: practice tolerance, but never for disrespect.”
4. Is Overnight Success A Good Thing?
Overnight stardom is the goal for so many people. Whether they’re actors, singers, or from a different field entirely, for some people, the success can come lightning fast. You might think this is the measure of success, but there’s no avoiding the struggle — it’ll just begin after. Keeping up with that level of success is where it gets rough. Talking about overnight success, our expert says, “Be it in the media or any other field of work, if you’ve become successful overnight, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to maintain that fame. Success needs diligent care and determination to keep growing, and not wilt.”
5. Celebrities Are Not Public Property
The debate about celebrities and their right to privacy has been raging on for as far as we can think back, from the time of Cleopatra to Princess Diana, and it’s only gotten worse with the onset of paparazzi culture. In an age when tabloid media runs successfully due to their ability to reveal ‘exclusive’ content, audiences have become a bit too inquisitive. Fans seem to be fuelled by having access to private content more than access to a celebrities body of work. According to Hira, celebrities are not public property. “Their craft is open for the public to either admire or criticise. However, their personal lives (unless they want to share bits of it) is off-limits to the public.”
6. No Room For Nerves
If being a celebrity journalist is what you aspire to be, you’ve got to be prepared to meet some of the biggest stars. But when you’re meant to interview them, it can be difficult to keep calm. To make sure you don’t appear star-struck and lose track of your thoughts, the one thing you need to remember is that you’re an interviewer first, and a fan second. Prepare your questions in advance – don’t just ask things you’re curious about. Remember, this is a job. Hira follows the same rules. “I aim to interview celebrities with the motive that they inspire many people, so I must ask them questions that will positively impact the masses. With that determined vibe, there’s no room to be nervous. After all, celebrities too are just people like all of us.”
7. Find Good Content
The PTV era was considered the golden era of the Pakistani media industry, even though there was one single channel present for consumption. However, with an explosion of new channels over the decades, we’ve seen a major fall in quality. While we have more options now, there’s less quality. The key is to identify and cover good content. According to Hira, content shouldn’t always be judged by its ratings. “There is plenty to choose from; yes, the majority of Pakistani media content has deteriorated, but there is good content out there too. Don’t always judge content by ratings or reviews, make your own judgements by exploring the variety.” Her current favourite drama: Mohini Mansion Ki Cinderellayen.