Academic, BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen to visit UW Comm

Anne Helen PetersenFeature-writer Anne Helen Petersen will be visiting for a guest lecture at the Department of Communication. Learn about Petersen’s transition from academia to writing for BuzzFeed during her talk on November 24 at 4 p.m. in CMU 120.

Title: “The Gossip Industry: From Clara Bow to Jennifer Lawrence”

The means and frequency of delivery, the specific organization of the industry, and the type of behavior audiences consider “scandalous” have all changed. But the guiding logic of the industry — that audiences crave information about stars and their personal lives, both positive and negative — has remained constant. To illustrate this concept, I look to Clara Bow and Jennifer Lawrence. The tenures of these two stars is separated by nearly one hundred years, but both have come to exemplify the idea of the “It” girl and weathered tremendous scandal — but, as will become apparent, to significantly different ends. What scandalizes us today? And what role does the gossip industry play in both posing and answering that question?

Bio: Anne Helen Petersen received her Ph.D. in media studies from the University of Texas, where she studied the industrial history of the gossip industry. After teaching in the university setting for several years, she transitioned to full-time feature writing, most recently with BuzzFeed. Her work has appeared in The Believer, The Awl, The Hairpin, Laptham’s Quarterly, The Baffler, Pacific Standard, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

Book webpage: