My Life In Media: Camilla Wright
'I want to get Wham! to reform and have a number one single'
Monday 15 November 2004
Camilla Wright, 33, has run celebrity gossip website and newsletter popbitch.com - which goes out to more than 250,000 subscribers every Thursday - since January 2000. The site has broken numerous stories later followed up by the mainstream media.
So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
The world of pop and celebrity is very interesting, but back in 1999 what you were being presented with was sanitised, dull lies that publicists and journalists colluded in. It came to a head when my co-founder Neil Stevenson did an interview with Mel C for Heat; the publicists stripped it back and back until it was worthless.
When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?
The Times. I was a news junkie and read everything.
And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?
I was an obsessive fan of the Radio 1 Roadshow, particularly Bits & Pieces, the pop trivia quiz. As for TV, no music programme has ever been as good as The Tube. Miami Vice - the glamour, design, cars, lifestyle, clothes and soundtrack embodied everything I thought life should be (but wasn't in provincial towns).
What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?
Al-Jazeera, Sky News and The Box video music channel. Then I pick up The Independent to read on the train - it's the best-designed intelligent tabloid.
Do you consult any media sources during the working day?
The Popbitch message board is ahead of the curve on reporting almost all news items and is a key source whenever anything big happens. I keep up with newsfeeds and WENN entertainment news.
What's the best bit about your job?
Apart from the presents that get sent to Popbitch? Having the opportunity to write to 250,000-plus subscribers each week about things I truly care about, and conversing with thousands of our readers around the world.
And the worst?
The pressure of producing a high-quality issue full of gossip and humour week in, week out, without attracting too much of the wrong kind of attention from the world's lawyers and publicists.
What's the proudest achievement in your working life?
Making labradoodles (a cross between labrador and poodle) famous and cool. I even had a breeder offer me one.
And what's your most embarrassing moment?
Believing Nicole Appleton of All Saints was born with a tail. It was on the message boards and seemed too good not to believe.
At home, what do you tune in to?
The internet is always on: I check Google's news, antimusic.com and slashdot.org regularly. I flick between music, news and sports channels on TV all day. I'm particularly loving Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development right now.
What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?
The Sunday Times and The Observer newspapers, and New Yorker magazine. I've hugely admired this year how it became a genuine opposition force to Bush's America.
Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire
I want to get Wham! to re-form or have a number one single.
If you didn't work in the media what would you do?
Maybe run a beach bar in Mexico - that's the post-Popbitch plan.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
Radio DJs Verity Sharp and Helen Mayhew for their passionate promotion of music. And people not afraid to go out on a limb like documentary-maker Adam Curtis and Maxim's Greg Gutfeld.
THE WEBSITE QUEEN
1992: After graduating in politics, philosophy and economics from Oriel College, Oxford University, Wright spent the next seven years working in "a number of jobs in freelance journalism, business and media".
2000: Wright and then-boyfriend Neil Stevenson, later editor of The Face, launched Popbitch. Originally a gossip email sent out to their friends, it was forwarded to others and soon blossomed to a readership running into the hundreds of thousands. Scoops include Madonna's decision to name her son Rocco, and a famous actor's army of PR advisers to suppress rumours he is gay. Madonna, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Duran Duran are said to be among its fans. Mistakes include initially naming the wrong man as the celeb accused of rape by Ulrika Jonsson.
2004: Wright now works as a freelance magazine journalist in Los Angeles.
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