'Purgatory' at Page Six: Taking the Gossip Beat's Temperature

0901paula 'Purgatory' at Page Six: Taking the Gossip Beat's TemperaturePage Six is still the gold standard. Gawker is stronger than ever. And gossip at the Daily News is ready to make a comeback.

The Village Voice‘s Joe Coscarelli and Foster Kamer survey the world of gossip reporting in their cover story this week, and suggest that as the playing field has become more crowded, the real art has started to fade. But nobody seems to be struggling too much, except for maybe Richard Johnson, who wants to quit his job and move west.

Mr. Johnson’s ‘purgatory’ at Page Six is the first anecdote in the piece, and one succinct point that emerges is that there has been a lot of turnover at the different gossip outfits. Things aren’t the way they once were, it seems.

Former Page Sixer Paula Froelich makes the point that the recent turnover at the gossip pages has disrupted the system of apprenticeship that has traditonally produced the best reporters.

“Gossip is not easy,” she said. “A lot of people tend to think it’s easy. It’s insanely hard reporting — you have to have a large Rolodex across the board held in your mind at all times. You have to understand how to comport yourself.” Ms. Froelich is the master of this. She told Messrs. Coscarelli and Kamer that Richard Johnson was “one of the best professors I’ve had in my life.”

There are plenty of interesting voices in the piece, and it’s nice to read something about gossip that doesn’t stumble over the idea that the work gossip reporters do matters. “For the people who stick their nose up at it,” Ms. Froelich says, “I laugh my ass off.”

NYC’s Golden Gossip Era Fades [Village Voice]