As promised, Kate Major—the former Star celebrity reporter who left journalism behind to pursue love with Jon Gosselin (which didn't quite work)—has answered five questions for you, the bloodthirsty internet hordes. Below: regrets, journalism, heroes, and celebulove.
[Some questions are from you, the commenters, and a couple are from us. DEAL WITH IT.]
1.When you were a journalist, did your editors or bosses ever encourage you to use your sexy charms to get in good with sources, a la Jon Gosselin? Do you think this is effective, for reporting?
Kate Major: In order to become a celebrity journalist, it is key to make solid "sources." I learned that it was vital to become as close to the stars as possible to really be able to bring in stories as well as maintain relationships. My editors never encouraged me to use my looks as a way to get close to the stars. Out of all of the celebrities that I have met and reported on, Jon Gosselin was one of the least attractive to me initially. His bodyguard sent him a picture of me and Jon came to meet me, plain and simple. As a celebrity journalist, Jon was attracted to me and I let my journalistic
skills down and fell for his crap like other girls. I did know better and I messed up. Do I regret it? Absolutely. Flirting and sex appeal does help with celebrities but crossing the line like I did was unacceptable in any profession.
2.If you could be a journalist anywhere in America, who would you work for? Who's your favorite writer?
KM: Journalists I look up to are: Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer. Working for any of them would be a dream come true. They all get right to the point and I respect all of them very much. They are able to ask hardcore questions
but always in the right manner and have been able to stay in the business and keep their personal lives personal. They give you facts and cut out all the fat.
My favorite writer is Cindy Adams from Page Six- her column is always interesting and her column is a 'must read!'
3.Did you ever worry that you may get offered a big celebrity piece and end up blowing it?
KM: Haha. No, I was always pretty confident when I interviewed celebrities. I was more worried about asking the right
questions in order to transgress to getting the answer on the harder questions or what readers wanted to know about. At the end of the day, it's all about getting the scoop that no one else did- the key to that is confidence and not being afraid to take the risks that other journalists were afraid to take. It takes a certain personality to be a celebrity journalist and I loved my job, it was exciting and challenging at the same time. Unfortunately, I threw it away by believing in someone who wasn't who he said he was, which caused me to resign from a job I worked so hard for and I regret that everyday.
4.What is your position on the ethical implications of freelance writers taking paid junkets? What is your dream junket, as a journalist?
To be honest, if a freelance writer can get paid to go to junkets then good for him/her. These days most people are strapped for cash and as long as they are gaining experience and utilizing what they learn- then that's great. I don't really have an ethical stance on freelance writers taking paid junkets, to be honest, I don't really care. It's the last thing on my mind.
5. Ms. Major: Sleeping with the sources is a major ethical no-no. Yet most of us in the guild have done it at some point. My question is: Given the ample opportunities to transgress during your career as a celebrity lifestyle journalist, why did you pick an illiterate douchebag father of eight toddlers? Why not a powerful Hollywood producer?
KM: Great question- I don't know. I guess Brad was with Angie and Tiger was VERY busy the day that I met Jon (Gosselin). Oooops, did I forget Robert Evans? But In all seriousness, I worked really hard at my career. I freelanced and worked my butt off to get hired and then moved to NY from LA for another promotion. I made a mistake and my mistake was Jon. Nobody looks at the stories that I broke or that I dropped everything to fly around the country as a reporter. It's not all glitz and glamour and I try to make the best of things but I know I made a mistake and I have to deal with it and move on. If I was going to go out with a "bang" though to be remembered by- Jon Gosselin was the worst person I could have picked.