Falk, Ben (2019) Are You There, Robert Downey Jr.? It’s Me, Your Biographer: Mainstreaming entertainment journalism across literary genres. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project is a commentary accompanying three of my published books – two unauthorised celebrity biographies about movie star Robert Downey Jr. and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox and a textbook about entertainment journalism. Using these three texts, this piece of work explores how my background as a showbusiness journalist informs both their execution and my wider writing practice. It examines how entertainment journalism is currently perceived by the public and why it should be given sufficient weight in terms of its adherence to Galtung and Ruge’s (1965) and Harcup and O’Neill’s (2001) taxonomies of news values and its impact on society.

Looking at theorists across celebrity culture, journalism and linguistics, alongside various practitioners, it will explore how the construction of unauthorised celebrity biography responds to myth-making and narrative theory and how that feeds into my academic writing. Then, utilising different methodologies including persona, narrative, showbusiness journalism tropes and the teaching of so-called soft skills required by modern employers, as well as considering the goal of media textbooks, it will demonstrate how I have used my style of writing to create ‘tribridity’ within the textbook form by introducing celebrity journalism into the format, alongside memoir and how that is reflected in my teaching practice.

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