When media giant Gannett announced it was looking for a reporter to cover all things Taylor Swift for USA Today, thousands of fans jumped at the chance to have a career centered on their pop idol. But of course, only one “Swiftie” could get the job — and the rest of the fandom isn’t happy with the results.
The newly announced Taylor Swift reporter is 35-year-old Brian West, who will be working out of the Tennessean’s newsroom in Nashville for USA Today. West is no doubt qualified for the job: he’s both an experienced journalist and a dedicated Swiftie, having been invited to meet Swift in 2018 thanks to his reputation as a diehard fan. “Our ears touched and I thought for a second, I could be straight,” West said to Variety about the experience.
Michael Anastasi, the Tennessean’s editor, praised West’s aptitude for the position out of a very talented pool of applicants.
“It ran the gamut from veteran hard-news reporters, including at least one very established White House reporter, to Swifties who have blogs and are influencers … and of course there were a number of fans who just were following their dreams and hoping to win the lottery,” Anastasi told Variety. “But what we ended up with was someone who I think has the great balance between being a veteran journalist who has serious news chops and someone who understands everything about Taylor’s world and the universe that he’s stepping into.”
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Though West is living out his wildest dreams, other Swifties don’t think he deserves the position. They’re frustrated that the job went to a man, considering Swift’s connection to girlhood and her massive fanbase of women.
“Paying a man a salary to obsess over a woman when women have been doing it better and for free for years is so classic,” wrote one Swiftie. Another said the situation is ironic enough to have been ripped straight from a rom-com.
paying a man a salary to obsess over a woman when women have been doing it better and for free for years is so classic lmfaooo— mads “normal” logolepsy (@madslogolepsy) November 6, 2023
Several referenced Swift’s song “The Man,” which blatantly calls out the patriarchy, as a reason this job should’ve gone to a woman.
I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man?— April Glick Pulito (@aprilglick) November 6, 2023
Another frustration with West’s hiring comes from his controversial picks for the worst Taylor Swift songs. To prove he could be critical and objective, West named his three least favorite songs in his job application: “Stay Stay Stay,” “False God,” and “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” (the latter of which was incorrectly named as “It’s Good to Have a Friend” in Variety’s article about West, which fans were quick to point out and blame West for, though the error was likely on Variety’s end of things).
Beyond an apparent typo, West’s picks still struck a nerve. “False God” in particular is a fan favorite, and its inclusion here had Swifties questioning West’s taste level.
FALSE GOD?! GET HIM FIRED.— Jacnights (@jacnights13) November 6, 2023
His list of favorite songs didn’t help: “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” “Long Live,” the live version of “I Did Something Bad,” “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” and “Wildest Dreams.” All excellent songs, as any Taylor fan would agree, but arguably very basic picks.
ATWTMV in his top songs oh he’s gotta go— 🌿sasha🌿 (@getawaycard1gan) November 6, 2023
His favorites are safety songs. Dig deeper Bryan.— Stacy (8/7 Exile + Dress) (@Gavkigrif) November 6, 2023
So how can Swifties be sure their favorite artist is in the hands of a truly dedicated reporter? Besides West’s assurances and the word of the folks who hired him, the proof will have to come with his coverage.
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