By: Richard Prince, Journal-isms

Multimedia reporter Cache McClay (pictured) will cover a new beat focused on the accomplished entrepreneur and legendary singer, songwriter and actress Beyonce Knowles-Carter at The Tennessean and USA Today Network, Sandy Mazza reported for the Tennessean in Nashville.

Mazza also wrote, "McClay, a Cleveland, Ohio, native, graduated from Howard University in 2017 and has worked as a writer and digital producer at Hearst Television, NBC News and BBC News. Most recently, she covered entertainment news at TMZ in Los Angeles."

A week ago, the Tennessean announced that Bryan West, a veteran journalist and two-time Emmy winning TV producer, would become The Tennessean and USA Today network's new Taylor Swift reporter.

"I wouldn't say I'm a part of the BeyHive, but I definitely speak the language," McClay, 28, declared in her video submission," Larisha Paul reported for Rolling Stone. "I do want to make clear I'm a Beyonce stan, but my point in saying that was mainly to maintain my integrity as a journalist. "That's what this role is--to report on Beyonce, but making sure that I am unbiased with certain issues or certain things."

"In other words, she'll serve as an intermediary between two tiers of Beyonce fandom: the stans who are deeply devoted to supporting their favorite artist and keeping up with her every move, and the locals who consume her music more casually and probably couldn’t tell you what city her tour is routed through next," Paul continued.

“McClay has spent the last two years as a producer and writer at TMZ, where she moved following a three-year stint at BBC News. She spent time covering the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C. before that.

"Throughout her career, McClay has orbited the pop-culture news cycle, but not on a level that would allow her to spend hours dissecting niche details surrounding any one artist--and especially not for an artist as internally calculated and outwardly unpredictable as Beyoncé. This role requires a particular attention to detail regarding the inner workings of Beyonce's fandom and the implications of her unique cultural impact."

The decision to hire reporters devoted to a single artist has been both cheered and jeered.

"We are so very excited to launch what will prove to be unparalleled coverage of an amazing businesswoman and artist," said Michael A. Anastasi, editor of The Tennessean and Gannetts vice president of local news. "Cachee is well prepared for this role, and her unique experience will further strengthen our extraordinary team of music journalists."

But Alexandra Bruell and Ann-Marie Alcantara reported Sept. 28 for the Wall Street Journal, The Taylor Swift/Beyonce postings provoked eyerolls in some corners of social media, with some even wondering if the jobs were real. They also drew plenty of ire, especially from local journalists whose industry has been gashed by layoffs. Gannett, the country's largest local-news publisher with hundreds of newspapers, laid off around 600 employees last year alone.

"' @Gannett, you're the problem, it's you,' wrote the New York NewsGuild, a journalists' union, on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in a nod to one of Swift's best-known lyrics.

"Gannett said the new roles were no gimmick, but part of a core strategy to rethink coverage, including dedicating whole jobs to covering big personalities and topics that appeal to national audiences and drive revenue. . . . "

Jon Allsop wrote Oct. 2 for Columbia Journalism Review, "an applicant for the Beyonce job referred back to TikTok videos he’d made role-playing as a correspondent for Beyonce's fictional news network, including an interview with a horse pictured on the front of her album Renaissance. 'This is how we save local journalism,' Kristin Roberts, Gannett's chief content officer, told the [Wall Street] Journal. 'This is what we need to do.' "

Mazza continued for the Tennessean, "McClay was hired following a nationwide search that drew hundreds of applicants. Her work will appear in Gannett's portfolio of more than 200 publications, including The Tennessean and USA Today. . . .

"The demanding role requires close coverage of Beyonce's complex business and entertainment empire, including the upcoming film documenting her $580 million-grossing Renaissance World Tour and a new perfume line, among other products.

" 'I grew up in a Beyonce household, my mother and sister are fans,' McClay said. 'More than playing music, Beyonce's impact has shown us the possibilities are endless.' "

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