Shira Lazar is an EMMY-nominated TV and web personality and one of the most respected pop culture journalists in the entertainment world.
Shira has interviewed a host of A-list celebrities including Eva Longoria, Keira Knightly, Matthew McConaughey, and many more.
Here she talks about starting your journalism career using good old-fashioned networking and hustle.
1. Who are you and why does your opinion count?
I’m currently a digital correspondent for CBSNews.com. I have my own blog and vlog on the site where I cover the latest in social trends and pop culture- basically what’s trending online and how that’s shaping our culture. I’ve also hosted shows on TV and online for NBC, DirecTV, Yahoo!, Live Earth, MySpace and many more. Everyone’s opinion counts. My stories wouldn’t matter if other people didn’t care. I just try to curate the content for the public and bring them access to other people and subjects that they might not have access to. I have fun and I’m naturally curious in hopes that others are entertained and informed by what I cover as well.
2. How did you start your career in the celebrity and entertainment world and how did you get to where you are now?
My first job out of college was as an Associate Producer for a morning show in Vegas. I booked talent daily and they also let me do a few gigs on the red carpet interviewing celebs. When I got back to LA, I was working on my reel and met someone working for Wireimage Video, which was just starting out at the time. I got hired doing red carpet video interviews. While I was on the carpet, I would meet a ton of websites who needed hosts or who had written content but no video, and I became a go-to person for those sites too. I loved the internet and understood how to produce segments, which made for a great combination as video developed on the web over the past few years.
3. What skills does a celebrity journalist need to be successful at their job?
Fearlessness, trust (others need to trust you to want to open up to you), care (people including celebs see through someone who doesn’t really care- that goes a long way in strengthening relationships) and of course do your research!
4. How has journalism changed over your career? How has social media (twitter, facebook etc) changed the way journalists do their job?
It’s changed a lot. There were only a few places to work at that were legitimate when I began. Now there are so many. You don’t need to be at the name outlets to have a legitimate career. If anything some of those place are slowly dying off and losing their audience.
5. What’s the best and worst thing about being involved in the celebrity journalism industry?
You get access to amazing artists, events and great swag (hehe). There is definitely a ton of negativity around celebrity journalism, because a lot of people have made it into just a backstabbing gossip industry, where anyone will do anything to get a scoop. I distance myself from that- I believe that strengthening relationships and trust makes for a better career, access and storytelling in the future.
6. What advice do you give to any budding celebrity journalism / presenters out there wanting to start their careers?
Don’t wait, just do. If you can’t necessarily get hired right away, start your own blog and use that as a portfolio to get hired. Network and take the jobs you can get in order to get more experience, meet more people and increase your network. Know and understand your goals from the beginning, but still be open to surprise opportunities that may come your way.