Monday, May 5, 2008

$2.5 Million Per Baby? Seriously?

PAYING PEOPLE for interviews is a controversial practice. Some people fear that paying subjects will create a perception that the subjects are saying whatever they have to say to get paid.

But does that same fear hold when you are talking about a celebrity gossip rag buying celebrity baby photos?

People mag reportedly paid $5 million for exclusive rights to the images of Jennifer Lopez and her twins

Is there anything wrong with that?


Shauna said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with buying photos. Photos cannot really be a lie, it is much different than an interview. If an interview is paid then it is much more unreliable. Pictures are a completely separate issue.

Jeff Frandsen said...

It's pictures. It's not an interview. If I were celebrity, I'd take 5 million dollars for someone to have exclusive rights to photographing my children.

That is all.

Kevin Cook said...


Are you serious that its ok to buy someones kids pictures for 5 mil? Go work for TMZ (or People).

That's insane. Of course People is obsessed with celebrity, but I guess people care what Lopez's kids look like.

By the way -- photos can lie. This is obviously a different situation. But have you ever heard of cropping?

Kayte Ljungquist said...

I dont think there is anything wrong because it is not news anyway.

Geo said...

Maybe J.Lo's baby is not news. But where do you draw the line? What if it was Hillary Clinton's baby? Would that be news or celebrity stuff?

And who gets to define who is a celebrity? Larry Mendte is a celebrity (of sorts) in Philly but if you went to New York, they'd be like, "Larry who?"

The problem with paying subjects for anything in journalism is that it creates a perception that information can be purchased. And if people are selling information, they'll say anything in order to get paid.

If the subject and the reporter/ photographer make a financial arrangement, the journalist is no longer independent. And the situation is no longer real - it is staged for the journalist's sake.

In a few years, when you are working journalists, think about how you'll handle a situation when someone asks for money to be interviewed or photographed. How will you handle that?

You should walk away.

- George (the teacher and self-righteous journalist)

Caitlin C said...

I do not think it is okay to pay for interviews and photos and such, however - these magazines, such as people and USweekly, are obsessed with celebrity because that is what they are focused on - it's niche media. You don't have to like it. That is like saying a golf magazine is obsessed with golf. As for the pictures of Jlo's baby.. I'm not saying it is right, but celebrities are people too, and sometimes it is a matter of privacy. Celebrities do the same with weddings, too. Magazines will outbid eachother to get the exclusive pictures from a celebrity couple or person, while the celebrity and whoever they are trying to protect aren't hounded by photographers and journalists. The money is often just a bonus. I would rather get paid, and protect my newborn kids from the spotlight and crazy paparazzi, than allow them to be pounced on every time their name comes up or I take them out in public. I also think that celebrity-based journalism is a lot different than other types of journalism. It is a bit more fluffy, not as serious. Though I think the rules still apply, I think ethics are eased a bit when it comes to celebrity gossip and such.

danielassaraf said...

Firstly, I think that the issue of purchasing an interview or photo in the case of a celebrity is ridiculous. Who does the media (especially magazines like People serve) if not celebrities? There is a symbiotic relationship between the tabloid press and celebrities, even when the mags gossip, because the mags provide publicity, keep them in the spotlight, and focus the public's attention on these famous people. Why should a magazine pay to provide someone PR? However, it might be necessary to bribe someone for a story in the case of investigative journalism. I think this is OK because it's serving the public (why would you have to bribe someone for a GOOD story) unlike the case of the 5 mil photo, which serves the celebrities.