The “Taylor Swift Effect” is not something to take lightly: in recent weeks, the mega-superstar has entered the billionaire’s circle; she’s altered music laws with major record labels prohibiting artists from re-recording materials in light of her successful Taylor’s Version output, and she’s turned the Kansas City Chief’s Travis Kelce into one of pop culture’s (and menswear’s) most-talked-about figures — and that’s only the most recent of her double-take-worthy headlines. With all the buzz, major news networks are now hiring full-time Taylor Swift correspondents to tackle all of her high traffic-generating antics; and among the latest to do so is Gannett, the largest newspaper company in America.
The agency has just hired Bryan West, who is based in Nashville, to work across USA Today and The Tennessean, writing stories that “explore Swift’s influence on music, business and social issues, while also chronicling the latest news from the superstar’s tour stops, her album releases and all the Easter eggs she drops along the way,” per the outlets.
West was qualified for the position with an impressive resume: he has eight years in a newsroom under his belt, as well as significant video production and editing experience and two Emmys for TV production. On top of that, he previously won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for investigative journalism, and he’s also met Swift in an unprecedented encounter while working for an NBC affiliate.
Speaking with Variety, West states that his former colleagues would often make fun of him for his fan behavior, but it was their playful jabs that ultimately led to his meeting the star herself. “[They would say] things like, ‘We’re surprised Bryan didn’t call in sick to work today because Taylor released a new album.’ I put those [jibes] together, sent it to her team, and said, ‘Hey, just so you know, Taylor’s got a local news reporter that’s a fan.’ Tree [Paine, Swift’s publicist] wrote to me the morning of the concert and said, ‘Taylor wants to meet you. How soon can you get out here?’ I went home, I changed, I went to Walgreens, and printed out a headshot of me and signed it ‘from your favorite local news reporter,’ and I sat in the parking lot for four hours until she said, ‘Hey, your passes to go backstage are at will-call.’”
For West, the job is “no different than being a sports journalist who’s a fan of the home team. I just came from Phoenix, and all of the anchors there were wearing [Arizona] Diamondbacks gear; they want the Diamondbacks to win. I’m just a fan of Taylor and I have followed her her whole career, but I also have that journalistic background.” As a dedicated fan, West’s content will surely produce high numbers for his assigned publications; and it would not be shocking if other news organizations were to follow Gannett’s strategy.
There seems to be an abundance of well-qualified candidates hunting for a Swift-focused media role, too. “We were very pleased with the caliber of the pool that we had,” Michael Anastasi, The Tennessean’s editor and the Gannett chain’s VP of local news told Variety. “It ran the gamut from veteran hard-news reporters, including at least one very established White House reporter, to Swifties who have blogs and are influencers … and of course there were a number of fans who just were following their dreams and hoping to win the lottery.”
Given the high demand for a role like West’s, it’s safe to assume that it’s only a matter of time until the most-eloquent of Swifties are stationed in newsrooms across the country.
Elsewhere, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Cobra” music video is YouTube’s most-viewed visual for a solo female rapper in 2023.
Source: Read Full Article