cover story

The fame game

Just in time for Hollywood awards season, CJR shines a Klieg light on entertainment journalism—a sometimes deprecated but highly influential corner of the craft.
November 1, 2012

In the past half century, as the big movie studios ceded control of the media narrative, celebrities have loomed ever larger on the cultural landscape, both here and abroad, and have come to sustain a vast economy that orbits around them—agents, lawyers, managers, spin artists, makeup artists, masseurs, etc. Advertisers dangle endorsement checks bearing many zeroes; candidates and charities vie for a sliver of reflected glory. And media properties are right in there pitching, trying to ensure a good newsstand sale, high ratings—their own share of that ineffable magic. Here’s a look behind at least some of the scenes:

Questionable taste Fearless as ever, Ricky Gervais talks about what it’s like to be on the receiving end of media queries.

Celeb-O-Matic Yes, it’s your handy map of access to the stars!

In cold type When Truman Capote laid bare Marlon Brando in a ground­breaking 1957 New Yorker profile, “The Duke in His Domain,” he knew exactly what he was doing. Douglas McCollam reports.

The red-carpet treatment Take a stroll down Movieland’s Memory Lane to the pre-Oscar ritual of a simpler time.

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The rules of the game Longtime movie publicist Reid Rosefelt explains how celebrity access works, from the inside.

Gross misunderstanding Showbiz economics expert Edward Jay Epstein decodes the hype around box-office grosses.

Avoiding pilot error Want to know what new TV shows will do well? Keep an eye on’s Watchlist.

Esprit de corpse Jay A. Fernandez recalls the long-gone days when reporters could spend extended periods on movie sets.

Taking the seen-it route Having done it herself, Sara Morrison tells how to break into journalism by recapping TV shows.

The Editors are the staffers of the Columbia Journalism Review.