Home TheStreet.com Makes Celebrity News Even More Low-Brow

TheStreet.com Makes Celebrity News Even More Low-Brow

Publicly-traded TheStreet.com, a serious investment and business news site that was started by CNBC’s Jim Cramer in 1996, yesterday launched a new site MainStreet.com. The site has the stated goal of writing about stories where “life and money intersect,” and though it covers politics, and general news, the site is mostly dominated by celebrity news and gossip. Which MainStreet.com unfortunately manages to make feel even more trashy.

MainStreet.com is divided into four categories: Beginnings (i.e., marriage, a new job), Endings (death, divorce), Windfalls (coming into money), and Challenges (bad stuff that happens). For each story the site publishes, the writers tie the news into financial advice. For example, a story about Paul McCartney’s divorce includes advice on how to find a good divorce lawyer to protect your assets.

The site, however, seems to cross the lines of good taste at times. For example, one of yesterday’s lede’s was a story about the death of actor Heath Ledger which uses a couple of paragraphs about the actor’s memorial service as a jumping off point for estate planning advice. It also includes a pair of sidebars — “Facing Your Own Death,” and “Get Organized” — aimed at helping people plan for their death with checklists and quizzes.

Some might think of the site as using news as a teaching tool — which sounds like a positive. But as the site’s about page says, every story they run “will have a secondary focus on improving your personal finances.” Or in other words: it’s all about the money. Thus, the whole site feels a bit too opportunistic to me, and rather than using news as a learning opportunity, MainStreet.com seems more like a site exploiting the tragically public lives of celebrities in a novel way.

Though the idea is sound — using the news as a teaching tool is a good idea in theory — MainStreet.com’s laser focus on money causes it to miss the mark.

What do you think? Is MainStreet.com doing a service for readers or is it further perverting celebrity gossip and news? Let us know in the comments.

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