Journalism in Crisis: Celebrity News Values and the Nigerian Press

Adeyemi Obalanlege, Kola Adesina


Entertainment news has a significant influence on the audience, and the effects of entertainment and celebrity news can both be positive and negative. Likewise, our media landscape has changed dramatically in the past several decades. According to Harcup and O’Neil (2001) celebrity was one of the redefinitions of the “taxonomy of news values for the twenty-first century”.While journalists who specialized in celebrity news say they see more demand for their work, others have argued that such stories lack journalistic reasons.Using celebrity case studies from recent publications in the Nigerian SUN newspaper and interview with editors, this article seeks to demonstrate that the pervasiveness and volume of coverage of celebrity has risen exponentially over the years.We argue that celebrity and entertainment news values have risen much higher up the hierarchy of news, guaranteeing extensive coverage, if combined with other news values.The adoption and dissemination of a story should be a newsroom decision based on various factors, including news values. But celebrity status often overrides many other important factors, such as bad news and surprise. Hence, the following research questions:

  1. Is there a journalistic reason (or reasons) for covering a celebrity story?
  2. What is the story’s news value?
  3. Do tabloids use alternative news values in deciding what news is?


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