EVAN MATTHEW is one of Hollywood’s best and most renowned celebrity news and gossip reporters. For the past 8 years, Evan has broken worldwide stories for magazines including People, In Touch, Life and Style, Heat and the National Enquirer. Here, he talks to James about what it takes to be a great celebrity news reporter….
1. Who are you and why does your opinion count?
Fame is a fleeting thing for most but for me it’s been around me everyday like the air I breathe. My playdates when I was 10 were with Angelina Jolie and Monica Lewinsky, but by the time I was 20 I was out of the Hollywood loop. By entering the world of celebrity journalism, I quickly reconnected with old friends and made hundreds of new contacts. In 2002, at the age of 25, I became the nightlife reporter for Star Magazine and the floodgates of fun were opened wide. Since then I have traveled to 54 countries and have had hundreds of stories and photos printed in People, OK!, In Touch, Life and Style, Heat, and the National Enquirer.
2. What’s the best and biggest story you’ve broken and how did you do it?
The best 24 hours I ever experienced in celebrity journalism was a double coup in which I broke the 2 largest stories of my career in one day. It all started at LAX airport where I ran into, a then unknown, Kevin Federline. I quickly bought a plane ticket on his flight to London and sat next to Kevin on a flight from Los Angeles where I received the first tell all feature story on Britney Spears. Upon landing in London, I ran into Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby doctor who, after just a few cups of coffee, told me the mommy to be’s baby due date, the sex of the baby, and all the details that Gwennie and hubby Chris Martin were preparing for young Apple’s arrival. I bought myself a congratulatory steak that night in London!
3. What skills do you need to have to be successful at celebrity news?
Most people in the entertainment industry are good natured and if you have a smile they are more than happy to smile with you. The best advice I ever received was from my former editor Bonnie Fuller at Star. She used to ask me if I was having a good time and stressed that my happiness was the most important part of the story because it would bleed into my writing. Respecting a deadline is another skill that a breaking celebrity news reporter must have. We work in intellectual property but until you sit down and write the story, the breaking news in your head won’t sell any papers.
4. What’s the best and worst thing about being a celebrity news breaker?
The best thing is getting to meet all of your heroes. Working with celebrities, I have been able to interact with the greatest actors on the planet and the most talented movers and shakers in the industry. Top five best moments: Conducting the last interview of Bradley Nowell in a Winnebago hours before he tragically overdosed in it. Giving Michael Jackson a hug at Neverland Ranch. Learning boxing from Muhammed Ali. Having dinner in a Bosnian coffee shop with the entire Clinton family. Acting in my first reality television show. The worst thing about the job is that you can always top yourself with great adventures!
5. What advice do you give to any budding celebrity / gossip writers out there wanting to start in the world of celebrity journalism?
The best thing you can do in this industry is to get your work out into the world. Content is king and if you have a great story, write it up and don’t be scared to share it with everyone. There is no door too big to knock on and you, the reporter, are the most important, first hand witness part of the process. Always be honest and always do what you say you will and people will start to gravitate towards you like bees to honey.
For more information on Evan Matthew, visit his blog at website http://itoldonyou.blogspot.com