In her quest to meet the rich and famous, Emma has bribed security guards, worn disguises, and even climbed through windows! But she does not think of herself as a criminal. “I’m just doing my job. I only get paid for the very best articles, so I have to act fast and think creatively if I want to earn a decent income!’’
Emma Worth writes for a well‐known gossip magazine. She is one of a growing number of journalists who are using their professional skills to hunt the so‐called ‘glitterati’ unawares, each hoping to get an exclusive, and preferably shocking, story.
Gossip‐mongering is nothing new. Indeed, sensationalist stories about the royal family (the A‐list of their time) were published only a century after the invention of the printing press – in 1453!
However, in recent years, our celebrity obsession seems to have escalated. Last year, Heat and Closer, the two best‐selling UK gossip magazines, sold over a million copies every week, and new celebrity websites and TV programmes appear every year. Even the traditionally more ‘serious’ press are turning to celebrities to boost sales. For example, the broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph now has a regular gossip column called ‘The Spy’.
But many people are critical of celebrity gossip hunters like Emma, not least the celebrities themselves, who complain that they are being denied a basic right to privacy. Some also object to its cruelty. Gossip articles usually focus on embarrassing mistakes and bad news stories. It seems we love to hear about the football stars who cheat on their girlfriends, or the Hollywood ‘babes’ with eating disorders. Photographs of celebrities looking the worse for wear after a late night out, or even a trip to hospital, are hardly flattering. You would need to be very thick‐skinned indeed not to feel a little bit hurt by this relentlessly negative coverage.
Fortunately for the celebrities, it seems that a backlash is beginning. Sales of gossip publications are starting to slow, and industry analysts predict that the public will soon become fed up with celebrity news.
For many journalists, this change of heart cannot come quickly enough. According to a representative from the National Union of Journalists, “the demand for gossip means that more significant issues, such as politics and the environment, are being neglected. It’s time we got back to writing about the real world. It’s much more interesting!”
I. READING COMPREHENSION
ANSWER QUESTIONS 1–3 ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE TEXT. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
1 Why does Emma wear disguises and break into buildings?
2 Why do some famous people complain about celebrity gossip? (Give two reasons.)
- Some famous people think that celebrity gossip does not respect their need for a private life, and it can also be very unkind.
3 What do publishing experts think will happen to celebrity gossip in the future?
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH THE PRECISE WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT, OR USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
4 Emma worries about breaking the law.
5 Some reporters believe there aren’t enough serious articles in the news.
- True. “According to a representative from the National Union of Journalists, “the demand for gossip means that more significant issues, such as politics and the environment, are being neglected.”
II. USE OF ENGLISH
6 FIND IN THE TEXT THE WORD WHICH HAS THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION: “get (money)” (VERB).
7 FIND IN THE TEXT ONE EXPRESSION MEANING “bored” (ADJECTIVE).
8 COMPLETE THE SERIES WITH ANOTHER WORD FROM THE SAME SEMANTIC GROUP:
- invent, inventor, inventive, invention
9 FILL IN THE GAP WITH A CORRECT VERB:
- “Gossip journalists love to write about celebrities who make mistakes.”
10 FILL IN THE GAP WITH THE CORRECT OPTION: so / such / too
- “I was so interested in the story that I couldn’t stop reading.”
11 JOIN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES USING AN APPROPRIATE LINKER (DO NOT USE AND, BUT, OR BECAUSE). MAKE CHANGES IF NECESSARY.
“The job was badly‐paid. He still enjoyed it.”
- Although / Even though / Though the job was badly paid, he still enjoyed it.
- Despite / In spite of the fact that the job was badly paid, he still enjoyed it.
12 TURN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE INTO THE PASSIVE VOICE:
“Our top reporter interviewed her.”
13 REWRITE THE SENTENCE CORRECTLY.
“Writing about gossip is just as hard than writing about serious news.”