After much excitement and controversy, USA Today has officially hired its inaugural Taylor Swift reporter. This significant move, aimed at capturing the unique influence of the global pop sensation, is making waves in the journalism industry.
The Reporter: Bryan West Takes the Helm
In an announcement on Monday, USA Today, owned by Gannett, revealed that award-winning journalist Bryan West would be taking on the Swift beat. West previously worked with The Tennessean, based near Nashville, and has now joined the paper’s music team. What makes this appointment even more noteworthy is that West’s work will be shared not only with The Tennessean but also with USA Today’s extensive network of over 200 local news publications across the United States.
Michael A. Anastasi, the Head Editor of The Tennessean and Gannett’s Vice President of Local News, expressed his confidence in this choice, stating, "Taylor Swift is a singular cultural force who is shaping our world in arguably unprecedented fashion. Chronicling her story, her impact, her influence takes unique expertise and experience, and we’re confident Bryan is the right journalist for this moment."
A Bold Move Amidst Industry Challenges
West’s addition to the USA Today staff comes at a crucial juncture. The publication has been looking to rebound after facing multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years, coinciding with the ongoing decline of local news publications.
Backlash and Concerns
When the job posting for the Swift reporter position was announced in September, it drew significant backlash from reporters and readers alike. This backlash primarily stemmed from the context of massive layoffs within the news chain over the past several years. Unfortunately, the trend of journalists losing their jobs has become a national issue, affecting various local news publications, including The Times and LAist.
The situation at the San Diego Union-Tribune mirrors this exodus, with dozens of local-news journalists opting for buyouts after The Times‘ owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, sold San Diego county’s paper of record to Media News Group, owned by the controversial hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Alden Global Capital is known for slashing newsroom staffs to increase profit, causing concern in communities left with fewer reporters.
Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, and owner of daily newspapers across the nation, including The Tennessean, has laid off hundreds of staffers and even shut down entire publications, contributing to the growing problem of news deserts in some communities.
Priorities and Criticisms
The backlash over the Swift reporter job listing was led by former Gannett reporters who questioned the news giant’s priorities. In middle Tennessee, many communities still lack local reporters covering vital areas such as city hall, local policies, crime, and other neighborhood issues. Critics raised concerns about the role being perceived as a cynical attempt to capitalize on Taylor Swift’s dominant year in the music industry. During this time, she set records in streaming, tour ticket sales, and at the movie box office.
A Larger Hiring Initiative
In response to the criticisms, Gannett clarified that the Swift and Beyoncé job listings were among more than 100 open roles at the company. The organization had already hired 225 journalists since March to cover various other topics. The hiring for the Beyoncé reporter job has yet to be announced.
In conclusion, the addition of a dedicated Taylor Swift reporter at USA Today signals the publication’s attempt to keep pace with the evolving media landscape and meet the demands of a changing readership. However, it has also sparked debates about the allocation of resources and priorities within the journalism industry.
Challenges and Controversies Surrounding the Swift Reporter Hiring
Who is the Taylor Swift reporter at USA Today?
Meet journalist Bryan West, the fortunate individual entrusted with the role of being the new Taylor Swift reporter for both The Tennessean and the USA Today network. The official announcement came on a Monday, with The Tennessean declaring that West, an esteemed veteran journalist and a two-time Emmy award-winning TV producer, has triumphed as the exceptional selection from a substantial pool of hundreds of applicants.
What prompted USA Today to hire a Taylor Swift reporter?
Gannett Co., Inc., the parent company of the newspapers, initiated the search for a Taylor Swift reporter with a clear vision. They aimed to bring on board "an experienced, video-forward journalist" whose mission is to capture the immense music and cultural influence of Taylor Swift. The job listing underscored the significance of Swift’s ever-expanding fanbase and her growing legacy, which have reached unprecedented heights in the music industry.
Is USA Today hiring a Taylor Swift reporter?
Absolutely! USA Today is actively in search of a dedicated Taylor Swift enthusiast to take on the role of their new Taylor Swift reporter. This exciting position offers a competitive salary, potentially reaching up to $100,000, and the primary focus will be to delve into Swift’s "music and cultural impact." The fortunate fan who secures this position will have the exciting task of chronicling the most significant moments of Swift’s ongoing Eras tour.
What is Beyoncé’s job on USA Today?
Following the recent job advertisement for a reporter dedicated to covering Taylor Swift and her Eras tour, Gannett Co. has introduced a second role. This new position is focused on "chronicling the music, fashion, cultural, and economic influence of Beyoncé" for both USA Today and The Tennessean. Beyoncé, a global icon, is now set to have a dedicated reporter to capture her multifaceted impact.
Who is the music reporter for USA Today?
The music reporter for USA Today is none other than Melissa Ruggieri, who holds the position of National Music Writer. Melissa Ruggieri contributes her expertise as part of the Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK team, and her insights on the music industry are highly regarded.
How to hire Taylor Swift for an event?
Hiring Taylor Swift for your next private or corporate event is a straightforward process. Simply complete the booking request form or reach out to our office at 1.800.698.2536. One of our experienced agents will be on hand to guide you through the steps to secure Taylor Swift for your upcoming event.