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Fake intimacy: Strategies of engagement in Israeli gossip columns
Unformatted Document Text:  and thus, their private lives can be discussed without restraints or concerns about consequences of what is said (Gamson 1994). Information in the columns is not disseminated “behind the back,” and indeed, in some cases the celebrities are willing partners and may control what is published. These factors pose limitations to the gossip columnist who must find ways to compensate the readers for the lack of intimacy and keep them interested in trivial data about celebrities. Following Norman Fairclough’s approach to media discourse (1995), I suggest to examine the columns as a unique media discourse that uses a variety of discourse strategies intended to create an intimate atmosphere replacing the immediacy of a good “coffee Klatch.” For this purpose I use examples from Israeli gossip columns in newspapers distributed nationally. Notwithstanding the problems of translation, the examples below sustain the claim of a new and interesting genre with its own rules, grammar and norms. Israeli gossip columns 1 At present Israel has three major Hebrew dailies published throughout the country: Haaretz, Maariv, and Yediot Aharonot. These do not include special interest magazines (sports, people, women, children) or media addressed to other segments of Israel (in English, Russian, Arabic, or members of the Ultra Orthodox communities). In addition, every city and region also has local newspapers appearing in weekends and reporting mainly local news. Social columns and information about Hollywood stars and world celebrities appeared in women’s magazines and movie magazines ever since such media were printed in Israel. However, reporting about Israeli celebrities is a relatively new 1 Caspi and Limor (1992 and 1999) provide a historical background of Israeli press, both national and local.

Authors: Schely-Newman, Esther.
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and thus, their private lives can be discussed without restraints or concerns about
consequences of what is said (Gamson 1994). Information in the columns is not
disseminated “behind the back,” and indeed, in some cases the celebrities are willing
partners and may control what is published. These factors pose limitations to the gossip
columnist who must find ways to compensate the readers for the lack of intimacy and
keep them interested in trivial data about celebrities. Following Norman Fairclough’s
approach to media discourse (1995), I suggest to examine the columns as a unique media
discourse that uses a variety of discourse strategies intended to create an intimate
atmosphere replacing the immediacy of a good “coffee Klatch.” For this purpose I use
examples from Israeli gossip columns in newspapers distributed nationally.
Notwithstanding the problems of translation, the examples below sustain the claim of a
new and interesting genre with its own rules, grammar and norms.
Israeli gossip columns
1
At present Israel has three major Hebrew dailies published throughout the
country: Haaretz, Maariv, and Yediot Aharonot. These do not include special interest
magazines (sports, people, women, children) or media addressed to other segments of
Israel (in English, Russian, Arabic, or members of the Ultra Orthodox communities). In
addition, every city and region also has local newspapers appearing in weekends and
reporting mainly local news.
Social columns and information about Hollywood stars and world celebrities
appeared in women’s magazines and movie magazines ever since such media were
printed in Israel. However, reporting about Israeli celebrities is a relatively new
1
Caspi and Limor (1992 and 1999) provide a historical background of Israeli press, both national and local.


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