We Need More Comeback Stories
We’re used to seeing the mugshots of our once beloved childhood starlets on the cover of any magazine willing to publish it (and more often than not, on the front page). We’ve all seen the way that Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are not necessarily friends of the entertainment news realm. And in 2013, we saw this same sensationalized celebrity gossip when it came to Amanda Bynes, our favorite early 2000s show frontrunner.
Unless you’ve been completely living under a rock, Bynes was largely covered by the media after a series of arrests and hospitalizations in 2013.
But this isn’t a sad story, because just this week Amanda Bynes satisfied not only my inner fangirl, but my inner journalist when she graced newsstands as Paper magazine’s latest cover star. As someone who hopes to go into entertainment news, with a focus on women’s issues in Hollywood, seeing this is refreshing.
At a time of transformation for the journalism industry, it’s nice to see media outlets focus on the comeback rather than the take down. Women in Hollywood yearn for the opportunity to be asked more hard-hitting questions in interviews, so it’s nice to see outlets taking the time to let these women tell their own stories. Especially when the subject matter can be as personal as struggles with mental health and addiction, as it was for Bynes’ article, giving the individual an opportunity to use their own voice if they’re willing is one of the best and most accurate ways to do the reporting.
Paper gave Amanda her own platform to speak openly about assumptions that were made by tabloids in years prior. The article “Break the Internet: Amanda, Please” is right in line with Paper’s brand. Their Break the Internet series gained traction after the provocative Kim Kardashian piece and cover shoot in 2014. The series uses narrative reporting to give life to the faces we already see accompanying headlines daily.
The style of writing used in the Bynes piece shows that extensive research went into writing process and a lot of time was spent between the journalist and the interviewee to make mannerisms and speaking cadence a relevant part of the journalistic narrative. Paper author Abby Schreiber, writes:
“As time went on, however, her youthful experimentation with marijuana evolved into trying other, harder recreational drugs. "Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy," she says matter-of-factly. "[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice." One drug she admits she started taking on a regular basis, however, was Adderall. "I definitely abused Adderall," she says.”
This new style of writing lends Bynes autonomy throughout the piece, allowing her to talk about her own addiction experience rather than sensationalizing it through broad assumptions and anonymous insider sources, which is something I see as potentially becoming the norm for entertainment journalism.