The biggest newspaper chain in the US has advertised two unusual job listings: a Taylor Swift reporter and a Beyonce Knowles-Carter reporter.
Gannett, which owns more than 200 daily papers, will employ the new reporters through USA Today and The Tennessean, the company’s Nashville-based newspaper.
The chain is looking for “modern storytellers” adept in print, audio and visual journalism, said Michael Anastasi, the Tennessean’s editor and Gannett’s vice president for local news.
“Seeing both the facts and the fury, the Taylor Swift reporter will identify why the pop star’s influence only expands, what her fanbase stands for in pop culture, and the effect she has across the music and business worlds,” the company said in its job description.
Similarly, the company wants a journalist who can capture Beyonce’s impact on society and the industries in which she operates.
Mr Anastasi said the Tennessean already has a three-person music team and “I put our sophisticated coverage up against anybody”.
Gannett is always looking for opportunities to make itself essential for paying customers, he said.
Critics of the new roles cited lay-offs at Gannett, where the workforce has shrunk 47% in the last three years due to lay-offs and attrition, according to the NewsGuild.
At some newspapers, the union said the headcount has fallen by as much as 90%. Last year alone, Gannett cut about 6% of its roughly 3,440-strong US media division.
Some journalists said that while hiring these massively popular artist-specific roles reflect their influence in pop culture, they do fail to invest in local journalism at a company known for its local dailies.
“At a time when so much serious news and local reporting is being cut, it’s a decision to raise some questions about,” Rick Edmonds, an expert at journalism think tank the Poynter Institute, said of the new positions.
Mr Anastasi said: “We’re not hiring a Taylor Swift reporter at the expense of other reporters.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub