Sandra Bullock and Jesse James and their marital woes have provided tons of fodder for writers everywhere. The moment that the Jesse James Sandra Bullock sex scandal broke last month, after allegations by Michelle Bombshell McGee and other women that Jesse James had cheated on wife Sandra Bullock, the media jumped on the story. Sites like Associated Content posted a constant stream of articles day after day that closely followed every nuance of the Jesse James cheating scandal.
How much is too much and should we really be writing about stars like Sandra Bullock and Jesse James?
Sandra Bullock and Jesse James: Should We Write About Celebrities?
I believe that every writer has to make a decision about what topics to write about including stars like Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, and it’s not “wrong” to cover celebrity stories. I don’t judge writers for doing celebrity articles and feel that it is the right of each individual writer to have the freedom to decide what he or she wishes to write about. There has been a lot of discussion lately, especially surrounding Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, about the exploitation of celebrities and how the press jumps on things celebrity scandals.
For celebrities like Sandra Bullock, the media is a powerful entity that can be their best friend or worst nightmare. When things are going well, stars such as Sandra Bullock jump on the bandwagon and court the press to further their careers. Sandra Bullock was certainly very visible during awards season, when she was trying to gain media attention for her Oscar nominated role in The Blind Side. However, as soon as the Jesse James scandal broke she went undercover, and the possibility of the media hounding her and excessive attention from the press became a huge problem.
I was really surprised to learn that Sandra Bullock may have sold the rights to the photos of her first public appearance since the Jesse James sex scandal. According to the New York Post, Bullock struck a deal with Getty Images for the first pictures of her in public since the Jesse James cheating scandal broke, shots of her hiking in Northern California that were eventually sold to Entertainment Tonight.
I have to confess, I was appalled to think that Bullock staged a photo shoot with Getty Images. By selling Getty Images the rights to her first public appearance photos, Sandra Bullock supposedly controlled the situation and kept it from turning into a paparazzi feeding frenzy. Still, there is something distasteful to me about the idea of Sandra Bullock arranging a photo opportunity with Getty images and then possibly profiting from selling rights to photos of her first public appearance after her shocking sex scandal.
If Sandra Bullock actually made money from photos of her first public appearance after the painful sex scandal, then writers should shy away from writing articles about her? I don’t think so. Yes, she kept the paparazzi that follow her around from cashing in on that first picture by selling exclusive rights to Getty Images, but she still manipulated the situation and possibly made money from the shoot. How much is too much when covering celebrity stories and does the media go too far?
Celebrity Stories: Where Do You Draw the Line?
When writers and photographers physically stalk celebrities and create dangerous situations just to get a photo opp or cover a story; in my opinion, that’s going too far. Also, it disturbs me how the media sometimes goes for the jugular in celebrity stories, hounding stars and causing them great psychological distress. When writing about and photographing celebrities, there should be a sense of balance and knowing when to draw the line.
I don’t believe we should sit in judgment on writers who choose to cover celebrities, or feel too sorry for the celebrities themselves when the fame they court suddenly turns against them and the press then starts to feel like an intrusive burden. Personally, I sometimes like to write about actors and actresses, and I have covered the Sandra Bullock Jesse James scandal. I felt I had a unique opinion to offer about the Jesse James Sandra Bullock situation when the story first broke, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.
However, when the story felt stale, I began to feel like enough was enough. I did see writers adding articles about Sandra Bullock and Jesse James day after day, but I didn’t have anything new to offer about the story and at a certain point I decided to move on to other topics, only adding new articles about Jesse James and Sandra Bullock when some new development came along that I felt I could write about. Also, I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon when it seemed like the media was really starting to hound Sandra Bullock.
In the case of stars like Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, I feel that celebrities are public figures who know that the media can be a blessing or a curse, so I’m not particularly guilty for writing stories that cover their lives. However, sometimes the media does go too far and exploit celebrities, often causing them great difficulties and pain. For me, it’s all about balance when covering celebrity stories, especially celebrity scandals. I sometimes like to write articles about celebrities, but only when there is some new detail to write about and I have some fresh insights to share about stars like Sandra Bullock and Jesse James.