If you have never heard of Kardashians, then where have you been? The so called ‘First Family of America’ have been on our screens since 2007 and have taken the world by storm. Love them or hate them there is no denying they have revolutionised the 2000/10s and the world will never be the same.
Cast your mind back to 2007, a time before Snapchat, Instagram and social media as we know it now. Our main source of information about them came from, the news, magazines or ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ Fans would have to wait until Sunday evening to see what Kim Kardashian (now Kim Kardashian West) and her family had been up too. The programme highlighted their rise to dizzying heights of fame, and was usually filmed 3 months prior to its debut on TV.
Yes, there were tabloids back then, but audiences did not have the means consume celebrity journalism and stories in the way we do in 2020, mainly due to social media.
In the age of social media, we are constantly refreshing our feeds and there is a demand for journalism and news reporting in real time- there is a competition to be the first one to break the story and get it out as quickly as possible. Terms such as “clickbait” have arisen as media outlets fight to get views and clicks. I have no shame in admitting I buy into this and want to be informed about what is happening in Kylie Jenner’s life. It is a form of escapism and is a life beyond my wildest dreams.
It was recently announced that ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ will air its final season in 2021. Kris Jenner (the matriarch of the family) was recently quoted saying social media and tabloid journalism was a factor for ending the show. With plummeting ratings, and the cast’s fame transcending the show, they decided to call it a day. Kris stated in the Digital Spy interview that she believes this as the stars have such a huge following on social media, and fans can instantly see what her children, and grandchildren are up to and don’t need to wait until the new series airs months later.
Journalism and social media go hand in hand in a way it has never been done before. Papers such as The Sun, and Daily Mail use Snapchat’s ‘Stories’ feature to report on celebrity gossip. They use snappy titles, exciting transitions and music, alongside pictures of Millennial and Gen-Z’s favourite celebs (such as the Kardashians). The stories are regularly updated and report on the goings on of the rich and famous. Taking a look through their stories, the Kardashian family appear countless times throughout the thread that reports in real time what each of the sisters are up to (with exclusive pictures).
This style of journalism emulates the format of Keeping up with the Kardashians, in which each member has its own camera crew following them throughout their day. Meaning that audiences are essentially getting the same kind of format as Keeping Up, but through a different medium.
However, there have been a few examples and episodes that have bucked the dwindling viewership trend — with one being Kim Kardashian’s 2017 Paris Robbery. The traumatic case was heavily reported across the world and was a high-profile spectacle consumed by the masses. There was a high demand to see behind the news reports as audiences wanted to hear first-hand what had happened. It could be argued as well that attention and the crave for news around the story was heightened as all Kardashians took a step back from social media and public life, meaning for the first time ever we couldn’t ‘Keep up with the Kardashians.’
Nowadays this is an anomaly as usually the attention and demand to see what has happened usually fades within 3 months of first being reported. Ratings for the Paris robbery episode was slightly higher than any other episode from the series with Headline Planet reporting 1.59m viewers watching the episode live compared to the 1.48m who tuned in to watch the season premiere.
It is evident there is a change in the tide in how audiences are consuming celebrity news and reality tv. The social media age has led to a need for instant gratification and demand for news as it happens; audiences are impatient and don’t want to wait to watch what they have seen in the news today unless it is exceptionally scandalous and newsworthy.
Thank you for reading see you later in the week!