LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In the fast-paced world of celebrity news, stars are increasingly turning to their own Web sites and blog postings to talk about themselves in a do-it-yourself approach to managing their public images.
By speaking directly to fans on the Internet, many stars have upturned the age-old approach to managing a scandal or personal event, which is to have a publicist speak for them.
“You want to have a constant dialogue with your fans, you can’t just do a news flash every three months and expect people to understand what you’re doing,” said Tyler Goldman, chief executive of Buzznet Inc, a network of Web sites and celebrity blogs that recently signed on actress Mischa Barton.
When Lindsay Lohan was pelted with flour this month outside a Paris club for wearing fur, her friend Samantha Ronson, a celebrity DJ, responded with a widely reported blog post slamming the animal rights activist who threw the flour.
Reality star Lauren Conrad of television show “The Hills” this month used her blog to dispute a newspaper story that she threw a fit at a New York airport.
Those stars made their statements on social networking site MySpace, which is one of several spots that stars use to drum up support from fans. Some stars also make public statements on their Facebook page, another social networking tool.
On those sites, stars have profiles just like millions of other Web users. But unlike many lesser known users, what stars say on their page can instantly be picked up by news organizations, a development some celebrities have welcomed.
Hotel heiress and film and TV actress Paris Hilton, 27, whose favorite catchphrase is “That’s hot,” said she uses her MySpace page to communicate with fans.
“Recently I have read so many lies about me in the press and my fans always know to check the blog when they read something that is negative,” Hilton said in a statement.
“I respond to them, not to gossip outlets,” she said.
Hilton is among numerous celebrities using blog posts for convenience and speed, and the social network sites say star usage is accelerating rapidly in recent months.
“A celebrity can go on their MySpace profile and they can write before they go to bed,” said Angie Allgood, director of talent relations and content for MySpace.
“And if they read something on the Internet or a gossip blog, they don’t have to wait until the next morning and go through their publicist, they can put something on their blog and know that that goes out immediately,” Allgood said.
The number of entertainers with MySpace pages has grown from 300 in January to nearly 600 today, MySpace said.
Buzznet, in addition to running its own Web site, also helps pop star Britney Spears and reality star Kim Kardashian upload fresh material to their Web sites.
Top stars can also receive a share of the advertising revenue that Buzznet generates, giving them up to a seven-figure annual salary from the company, Goldman said.
Goldman pointed to Kardashian, 28, of TV show “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” as a master of using the Internet noting her site integrates content from others that don’t always describe her in glowing terms.
“You can’t just put corners around what you want to talk about, and so she smartly gets that the users can smell inauthenticity right away,” Goldman said. “If it’s not authentic, they’re going to go somewhere else.”
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte