Question: How do you explain the increasing popularity of gossip?
Hauslaib: I don’t think there’s necessarily . . . I think it’s cyclical. I think that technology has enabled us to feed an appetite that’s always existed. You know 50 years ago if we had this technology I think we’d be reacting the same. It’s just it wasn’t there. We didn’t have this “always on” ability to always be consuming this information. So now that we can, I think it’s very easy to see those trends that the consumption has grown, you know, many times over. And people are clicking from one site to the next trying to get the latest information. And that’s really created almost a problem within the entertainment industry because not only is every bit of minutia a story; but you know everything is being reported online the moment it happens; that when, you know, my readers are watching the Insider, or my readers are going to the newsstand to pick up People magazine, they’ve already picked up that information and moved on.
Question: Why we are so obsessed with the lives of others?
Hauslaib: You know I think it’s just . . . I’m not an anthropologist, but I think we’re social beings. We’re interested in sharing things about ourselves, which you will see on Facebook and MySpace – people tell the world everything – to learning interesting things about other people. And you know I think . . . You know from teenage girls sending text messages gossiping about each other, which has blossomed into the Gossip Girl book and TV show; to our infinite ability to learn more about how many lattes Lindsay Lohan drinks in a day, you know I think that’s sort of representative of the fact that now we have this technology to be able to do it. I don’t think we’re advancing by any means as a . . . as humanity that we’re consuming this information. I think we’re just doing it because we can and we have this insatiable appetite.
Question: What makes great gossip?
David Hauslaib: People. People and personalities. Time and again, if we have an interesting character, that story is going to blossom. So you know when it’s the story of Anna Nicole Smith’s death, however unfortunate, that was a goldmine for the gossip industry because there were so many facets to that story – so many angles to explore from her relationships with various men including her attorneys; to her history as a Playboy bunny; to her son dying shortly before she. You know there are so many elements to her personality that it creates a great story. Then you have sort of instances like, you know, Brad Renfro who passed away recently who was well known indeed, but wasn’t so much of a larger figure that he consumed as much of the debate within gossip circles as some of these other stars. So first and foremost an interesting character.
Recorded on: Jan 23 2008