Gossip Industry: How To Get In

The gossip industry is a growth industry, thanks to the web as well as digital and video cameras. Get that one of Paris with her dog and Liza with that new 20 pounds.

In addition to the old print standbys like National Enquirer and People, there are now wildly popular online sites like Gawker.com and Politico.com. The jobs are diverse. You can be a paid tipster, publisher, editor, marketer, or hands-on disher of the dirt through articles or only visuals with captions. Pay runs from about minimum wage to the celebrity-level compensation the late Dominick Dunne received. You can work full time, part time, and freelance.

Since the industry has become respectable, those who figure out how to play well in that sandbox can name their ticket. Former Washington gossip on Wonkette.com Ana Marie Cox went on to mainstream media jobs at Time and GQ. Some expect Abovethelaw.com's Elie Mystal to go on to a BigFoot entertainment gig. He receives exposure being interviewed by TV shows.

The way in? Here are some suggestions:

1. Hunt for tips. That gets you known and marketable. This entails developing a niche, such as Republicans in Washington D.C. or Wall Street. You also want to cultivate your own cabal of tipsters. People usually leak for negative reasons such as hating their employer or a grudge against some group.

2. Spot dirt in all activity. All that takes is the ability to superimpose implications and then speculate. Celebrity X is on vacation without spouse.

3. Get handy with digital and video cameras. The industry is visual.

4. Work for free. Eventually you'll have the know-how, samples, and insider contacts to select your job or create your own gossip start up. Jobs are posted on sites such as Politico.com under "employment," listed in the text such on Abovethelaw.com, and posted on online boards.

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