Francine Brokaw’s New Book Explores Life Inside TV Journalism

Francine Brokaw is an established writer in the entertainment industry, having written for both national and international magazines and newspapers for more than twenty years. Her work is widely read and respected. She is also a writer with

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Brokaw’s book Beyond the Red Carpet. I particularly like its freshness and honesty. This book is a guide of sorts and a must-have for anyone considering a career in entertainment journalism.

Television Writing Unique

In Beyond the Red Carpet, Brokaw says, “After you get the hang of working in an unfamiliar format and navigating the industry with publicists, the job of an entertainment journalist is definitely interesting and affords a lot of unique experiences.”

I won’t spoil the book for you, the reader, because I believe it is definitely worth the purchase. Chapter titles include the likes of “Strange Interviews, ” “Twilight Zone Moments,” “Open Mouth, Insert Foot,” “Interview Funnies,” and “Location, Location, Location.” If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what is.

Basically, Brokaw takes the reader through a beginning career in entertainment journalism, depicts some common myths on the subject, defines the fierce competition present in the field, and has journalists share experiences of some of their stranger interviews, missed opportunities for interviews, awkward interviews, rude celebrity appearances, funniest interviews, and most memorable interviews. Brokaw also has the journalists share their particular avenues of “advice” for the beginner in entertainment journalism.

Revealing Secrets of Biz

And Brokaw is both funny and down to earth. Throughout the book, she poses questions about the work of entertainment journalists to top professionals in the business, many of them members of the Television Critics Association. Their answers are quite informative and at times, surprising. Topics discussed include how these journalists got their start in the business, the biggest misconceptions people have about their jobs, the competitiveness of the business, the strangest interview they’ve ever conducted, who they’ve tried to interview without success, their most memorable interview, funniest thing that ever happened during one of their interviews, most interesting place they ever conducted an interview, and best freebie they ever received.

Brokaw Qualities Shine

There are several praiseworthy qualities about Brokaw herself that become evident throughout the book.

First, there’s her humility. She doesn’t pose a single question to any journalist without first answering it herself.

And, I like that she doesn’t put down freelancers. She says, “[Just because they’re freelance] doesn’t mean that they don’t work as hard as staff writers. On the contrary, they must work even harder in order to lock down an outlet to publish their work. When you read about freelance writers, keep in mind that they are as valuable and respected in the world of entertainment journalism as those who are staff writers for specific publications.”

Then, there’s her humor. The way she talks about her naivety during her first roundtable as a “deer in headlights” kind of experience is quite funny.

And, she is obviously very dedicated, a hard worker of her craft. She says, “Work is at the core of this job. This is probably the largest misconception people have about entertainment journalism. It isn’t easy, but it is fun, most of the time.”

She looks for the good in even the worst situations of her job, relating that sometimes those interviews with nothing to share seem like professional failures, but they may also be seen as once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

A Writer’s Impact on the World

Near the beginning of the book, Brokaw says she always wanted to “make an impact on the world with words.” I think she has.

She offers some advice: “This job does not come with instructions,” but, “the first rule of entertainment journalism is not to put actors on pedestals.”

This book is, without a doubt, entertaining and always thought-provoking. Brokaw captures just the right descriptions of the job from entertainment professionals.

Shared Thoughts on Craft

George Pennacchio from KABC-TV says of entertainment journalism, “It will never be a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job. It requires commitment, dedication, and a lot of hard work. You better love it. And I do.”

Michael Lee from says, “It may come with its own unique brand of poverty and stress that can only be appreciated by fellow reporters, but entertainment journalism has been, for me, a great experience to meet interesting and like-minded people.”

And Rick Bentley from Fresno Bee adds, “There is no job in journalism that will touch as many people as writing about entertainment.”

It’s obvious Brokaw loves what she does. She sums up the work of entertainment journalists nicely, “We are hardworking journalists who just happen to be reporting on the entertainment business.”

Bravo on a job well done.

Cheryl has been a freelance TV/film writer for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, she has worked in PR for Bon Jovi Productions in NYC, PolyGram Records (also in NYC), and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations. Cheryl has published articles at, “Sci-Fi Entertainment” magazine, and “Soap Opera Weekly.” She was also a credited researcher for English author Denis Meikle’s JOHNNY DEPP: A KIND OF ILLUSION. Cheryl enjoys writing for the entertainment industry and meeting new people. She is also an animal lover. 

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