Washington Post kills 'Celebritology' blog

The Washington Post

In the six years it existed, The Washington Post's "Celebritology" blog was one of the site's most popular online properties. It will close for good Dec. 21, blog author Jen Chaney told readers in a post Tuesday. Chaney has resigned from the paper; her last day is Jan. 3, she said in a phone interview.

"The editors above me told me they wanted to streamline our coverage in the pop-culture area," Chaney said. "It wasn’t because the blog had dipped significantly in terms of traffic." Chaney says she thinks Celebritology will finish the year in fourth place among the Post's blogs.

Celebritology was one of the newspaper's first pure national plays, born because its "Reliable Source" reporters said they felt reporting celebrity news wasn't a good fit for their column, which focuses mostly on Washington, D.C.-area boldfaced names. Chaney took over as primary author from blog founder Liz Kelly in 2011. I profiled her in November of that year, noting the distance that persisted between her blog and the paper's arts-and-entertainment shop after the Post's print and online newsrooms merged.

I've asked Reliable Source's writers, editor and a company spokesperson about how the changes will affect the remaining column's coverage and will update when I hear back.

Incoming Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron told The New Republic it's "probable" that the newspaper's newsroom will shrink next year. Whether the paper plans to shift more resources to local coverage under Baron is the source of much D.C. journalist fascination.

Post editors "offered me another position within the company," Chaney said, "and I gave it a lot of thought and ultimately decided it wasn't the right fit for me."

She's planning to write freelance for a while, focusing on pop culture, especially film and television, and maybe take a breather from celeb news.

Chaney says her first adjustment to life off the hamster wheel of blogging will be to not "run for my laptop when i wake up." For people who work on the Web, she says, "there’s just always a sense that you’re always updating. I got out of bed every day and before I got dressed, I was online filing or updating something for years."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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