What happened
The Associated Press is stepping up its coverage of celebrities, hiring 21 new employees in Los Angeles, New York, and London to bolster its entertainment news business. According to an internal AP memo, the new celebrity group will not be “about gossip, unnamed sources, and innuendo, or about ‘peephole’ journalism with AP photographers becoming paparazzi.” Instead, it will lend its “authoritative voice” and “high editorial standards” to entertainment news. And with the market for “outsourced entertainment news” expected to rise to $960 million, the move “makes good business sense,” the memo says. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

What the commentators said
It’s hard to see how the venerable “wire will pull that off,” said Ryan Tate in Gawker. First of all, it’s hard to have “journalistic integrity” when “Hollywood publicists are notorious liars"; the stars won’t talk; and sources “who actually know what they’re talking about” are rare and expensive. But even as a “ploy for cash,” the AP has problems—news accuracy is “just boring,” and writing about celebrities without gossip and innuendo is “like writing about sports without talking about the score or about business without dollar figures.”

Well, the AP is hardly the only “traditional news” outlet trying, said Rebecca Traister in Salon. With so much money at stake, “we can now get our Hollywood hearsay from The New York Times and CNN,” too—if we can stomach any more of the “celebrity crack pipe.” If the declining sales of celebrity weeklies is any indication, though, we’re increasingly getting queasy at the thought of “consuming another morsel of celebrity meat.”

We might have a bigger appetite if there was anything worth reading about, said Liz Smith in the New York Post. Instead we are “dished up loads of stuff about people we never heard of and don’t care about.” The sad truth is that there are “very few really big stars these days,” and for those more interested in celebrities than politicians, “that makes everything truly dull.”