If you work at a small-town paper and your small town happened to be the home of a huge superstar, you would probably try to write about him/her with some amount of regularity, mostly because whatever they're doing is more interesting than the fight over an ordinance to paint all see-saws pink or whatever is going on in the real world. Also, pageviews! Milk that virtual fame-teat for all it's worth, right?
Take the Springfield News Sun in Ohio and John Legend as an example. Legend's from Springfield. The News Sun covers Springfield. Not much happens in Springfield. Write about John Legend! That's an easy logic path.
But what if people start to notice that you write about John Legend an awful lot? Well, you have a good answer prepared for that and you tell them what it is, just as long as there's no new John Legend news to print.
Let's go to the block quote machine and see what they had to say in a piece entitled: Why do we write so much about John Legend?
Every few weeks, an e-mail or phone call will wander into our newsroom along these lines:
“Why do you guys write so much about John Legend? He’s not the only person ever to make it big from Springfield.”
The sentiment comes so often that we have a stock response: Rest-assured, the next person from Springfield who wins six Grammys, we promise to write a ton about them, too.
But it’s a legitimate question. Why do we write so much about John Legend?
The easy answer is: because we can. He’s a popular musician who approaches his craft like a CEO launches a new product. He is one of the world’s best at what he does. He appears to be intelligent, hard-working, successful and — one would hope — having a great time doing it. Have you seen his girlfriend?
Have we seen his girlfriend? Well, holy crap yes we have, and she's hot, so that makes John Legend 3.591-times more interesting to the citizens of Springfield.
Oh, in case you wondered, the Springfield News Sun is, like, super popular with Mr. Legend himself. They have his phone number!
The man is busy. Reporter Andy McGinn was able to get him on the phone for all of about 10 minutes last month for our article about his new album. And we have his cell phone number and know his parents!
Credit the paper for using only one exclamation point in that last sentence. That took an extreme amount of self control.