America’s largest newspaper chain is hiring a Taylor Swift correspondent

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, announced Tuesday that it will hire a reporter to cover one of the biggest names in music: Taylor Swift.

As Swift’s fame grows during her record-breaking tour, Janet said she was looking for a correspondent who could capture the importance of her music, as well as her “growing legacy” and “the impact she’s making across the music and business worlds.”

The reporter will write for USA Today and The Tennessean, the publisher’s newspaper in Nashville, where Swift began her career as a country idol before selling out stadiums across North America on her record-breaking Eras Tour.

The post reflects the frenetic fanbase that has surrounded Swift, whose cultural resonance seems to deepen with each album, including a re-recording of her old music. Her fans spent thousands of dollars on concert tickets and shook the ground so hard at one concert that it registered as an earthquake on a seismometer near Seattle.

Reactions to the job posting were mixed, including praise for Janet for trying to reach a new audience and criticism of how the company has laid off local journalists in recent years.

USA Today Network, which the company owns, is committed to serving its readers with essential journalism, and that “includes providing our audience with the content they crave,” Christine Roberts, Gannett’s chief content officer, said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“As Taylor Swift’s fan base has grown to unprecedented levels, so has the influence of her music and her growing legacy — not only on the industry but also on our culture,” Ms. Roberts said. “They shape a generation and are relevant, influential and innovative – just like the rest of us.”

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Newspapers often employ music critics and entertainment reporters, but rarely assign a reporter to cover a single artist.

However, Swift’s popularity proved to be a powerful force over the summer, both culturally and economically.

A Federal Reserve survey of business contacts reported that Swift’s fans, or Swifties, have strengthened the hotel Revenue in the Philadelphia area Although Swift, 33, and her promoters do not publicly announce box office numbers, trade magazine Pollstar estimates she was selling $14 million worth of tickets each night. By the end of her planned world tour, which is booked for 146 venues through 2024, Swift’s sales could reach $1.4 billion or more — surpassing Elton John’s $939 million in sales on his multi-year farewell tour, the current record holder. .

Some journalists expressed concern about Gannett’s reporting priorities. Last December, Gannett cut about 6 percent of the company’s roughly 3,440-person U.S. media division. Media analysts said the move could worsen the state of the local news industry, which has shrunk in recent years, creating information deserts in communities across the country.

Chalkbeat Tennessee reporter Laura Di Testino had this to say about Xformerly known as Twitter, said that while Nashville is getting a Swift reporter, Memphis is still without an investigative reporter.

Ms Roberts said Gannett had employed 225 journalists since March, and now had more than 100 jobs open.

Vrinda Jagota, a music writer who has reported on Swift’s cultural significance, said in an interview Tuesday that although Swift is a complex pop icon worthy of journalistic analysis, there are other stars who are just as important, such as Beyoncé.

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She said that Beyoncé’s album “Renaissance,” for example, resonated with many black people and the gay community.

“I think the question that comes to my mind is which fandoms and moments of connection are being taken more seriously,” Ms. Jagota said. “And Taylor Swift’s fan base is very white. There are a lot of white women.

Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Blair Center for Television and Popular Culture, said Tuesday that such a hiring “is not as absurd as it first appears.”

In an increasingly fragmented cultural environment, “where mass culture is broken up into a million little pieces,” he said, there is an increasing value in the one thing that emerges that everyone can essentially comment on.

“You can’t be conscious in the United States without having to engage with Taylor Swift on some level,” Dr. Thompson said. He added that covering someone like her is “a perfectly healthy activity for a journalist.”

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