“The Beyoncé and Taylor Swift Job Listings at USA Today Spark Backlash Among News Reporters — Here’s Why”

It’s not often that a news publication’s job listing makes headlines. However, this week, lightning struck twice at USA Today, owned by Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain. The publication’s unusual move to advertise for reporters to cover two icons – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Taylor Swift – has garnered attention.

Both job listings are similar, requiring each reporter to cover the conclusion of their historic tours, Renaissance and Eras, as well as upcoming album or project releases. The positions are remote, with candidates expected to travel internationally. While Swift is embarking on the international leg of her Eras tour, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour is wrapping up in October. The reporters are asked to view both figures not just as musical performers but also as cultural bellwethers with influence on pop culture and business. They are also expected to cover the fan bases of Swifties and the Beyhive (described as “protective”) respectively.

The Swift listing, which came first, caused a stir online. It stated, “Seeing both the facts and the fury, the Taylor Swift reporter will identify why the pop star’s influence only expands, what her fanbase stands for in pop culture, and the effect she has across the music and business worlds.” Swifties hailed the opportunity as a dream job, with some jokingly expressing their willingness to leave behind their careers for the position.

Despite the listing requiring candidates to be without bias, USA Today managers specifically invited Swifties to apply for the job, which sparked some controversy. Local news reporters questioned the company’s priorities, particularly in light of the significant layoffs the newspaper chain has undergone in recent years. Gannett, which owns daily newspapers across the nation, has laid off hundreds of employees and even closed entire publications, resulting in more news deserts.

The job post sparked further debate among Tennessee-based reporters, as the Swift and Beyoncé jobs will be rooted there. The Tennessean, one of Gannett’s daily news publications, is mentioned as the employer alongside USA Today. The Nashville-based paper, along with the Commercial Appeal covering Memphis, has also experienced staff cuts, leaving middle Tennessee communities without local reporters to cover crucial issues such as city hall, local policies, crime, and neighborhood matters.

Former Memphis reporter Laura D. Testino, who covered education and children’s issues for the Commercial Appeal, pointed out the disparity, saying, “Nashville is getting a Taylor Swift reporter. Memphis is still without an investigative reporter.” The job listing’s tweet by USA Today, calling it “the job of your wildest dreams,” prompted former Commercial Appeal reporter Dima Amro, who covered Memphis’ suburban neighborhoods, to sarcastically comment, “My wildest dream is Gannett filling my old Memphis position (has been vacant since mid-June).”



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