When others are asked to describe acclaimed entertainment journalist Maurice Cassidy, the words ‘passionate,’ ‘hardworking’ and ‘reliable’ frequently pop up. In a current news landscape filled with a multitude of bloggers, self-proclaimed influencers and ‘fake news,’ Maurice Cassidy has risen to the top through sheer integrity and hard work.
Indeed Anna-Marie LeBlanc, the founder of CelebDirtyLaundry.Com, an entertainment news outlet that boasts more than 15 million readers per month, sings Maurice’s praises when asked about how she has known him since he started in the industry, and seen his rise through the journalism ranks.
“Maurice always had a passion for entertainment, even when he was working as an intern,” Anna-Marie exclaims. “He didn’t mind covering the articles that others would skip out on because they were deemed ‘boring.’ In terms of reliability, Maurice could not be faulted in any way.”
Anna-Marie also elaborated on another of Maurice’s strengths, patience.
“There were several instances were breaking news would need to be covered on our main site and given that Maurice was living in London and our writers were located in the United States, Maurice would more or less update the site on his time zone, which greatly helped us upkeep our traffic 24/7.”
As many others will attest as well, Maurice’s patience is one area of his character that has led him to excel at what he does.
While writing for CelebDirtyLaundry.com, Maurice experienced tremendous success as an interviewer of some of the hottest contemporary stars, such as pop star Natalia Kills, whom he marks among his favourite subjects to interview, and Mayra Veronica.
“I remember being asked if I wanted to interview pop singer Natalia Kills, and the idea of interviewing a celebrity left me feeling nervous, seeing that I was still a teenager at the time, and I had never interviewed someone before,” recalls Maurice. “Needless to say, the interview went smooth and, again, it made me fall in love with journalism all over again because I was stepping into situations of my field I had never been before.”
While Maurice’s success as a journalist has continued to flourish, his humble memories of how he first began in such a competitive industry have kept him grounded throughout.
“I started writing from a very early age; I believe 16. I started interning for an entertainment website, which had a fairly large audience with over 4 million readers a month. I would produce roughly five 400-word articles per day and for each of those posts, I’d make, maybe, $3.”
A low-starting salary however was not enough to deter Maurice from pursuing his passion and far-reaching talent as a journalist. He elaborates.
“The money was simply complementary to the dedication I had put in those articles. I remember when I first started writing in the field of entertainment, I didn’t know how to phrase sentences effectively, or in channeling the tone of a news outlet.”
Maurice’s persistence and attention to detail has clearly served him well. His reputation has also been bolstered by his experience as an entertainment writer for the popular news publication the Inquisitr, which averaged 90 million page views per month during the time that Maurice’s pieces were being published on the site.
“Upon having heard about the [Inquisitr] job role as a freelance journalist, I immediately applied, but it was a tough process. There was a 50-page handbook that every application must read before they take on a quiz consisting of roughly 40 questions. All of them had to be correct in order to be even considered for a position,” recalls Maurice about the rigorous process.
Ultimately Maurice’s dedicated nature and willingness to devote himself to the challenge of completing the application process for the Inquisitr paid off, and he was chosen out of thousands of other applicants. Though it was still early on in his career, Maurice was steadily climbing the ladder.
He admits, “It was a great achievement given that this had been the biggest company I had worked for at that point.”
Maurice’s experience at the Inquistr gave him the opportunity to exercise his skills in a uniquely independent and creative way, allowing him to flourish as a writer and reporter, not to mention the fact that his pieces attracted international attention.
He explains, “While I was at the Inquisitr, you really do work independently. There’s nobody really telling you what to do: you choose the stories you want to write and focus on making it the best possible article of that particular topic.”
In one story, Maurice chose to focus on Grammy-award winning superstar Mariah Carey and her performances, a buzzing subject considering Carey’s international appeal. Catchy, poignant and an invigorating read, Maurice’s article revealed his knack for catering to the gossip interests of a hungry public. He proved his ability to snuff out stories that most interest the Inquistr’s readers through his coverage of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s marriage woes. In both cases, such stories required a highly specialised understanding of the entertainment industry and Hollywood that only a select few seem capable of mastering.
The freedom Maurice enjoyed while serving as a lead entertainment journalist at the Inquisitr brought with it a unique set of demands, such as those that required him to push his skill as a photography editor to the next level. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he quickly became a skilled Photoshop master, which gave him the power to effectively curate the visual imagery that accompanied his stories.
Over the years the German-native has become increasingly well-known for his journalist work as a showbiz reporter at the Daily Mail, a flocked to news publication that receives over 270 million page views per month.
“Landing a position as a showbiz journalist at the DailyMail was a pivotal moment for me because I grew up reading this particular news publication in my teenage years in London,” Maurice admits. “Two weeks into my position as a showbiz journalist for one of the biggest media firms in the world, my editor Heidi Parker had assigned me to write a breaking news article which was to be featured on the frontpage of the website.”
A rare occurrence for a new writer to land a front page story at such a massive outlet, Maurice covered the death of “Sons of Anarchy” star John Vasquez, who passed only minutes before he received the alert at the news desk.
He recalls, “I was initially nervous, given that I was still new at the company.” Despite his nerves Maurice’s journalistic dedication persevered and he not only published the article with a record turnaround time, he continued to update the story as more details emerged.
Daily Mail covers live red carpet events on a daily basis, as arduous undertaking considering all of the occurrences that Hollywood has to offer its A-list celebrities. As a showbiz journalist, writers like Maurice are often assigned to recap outfits, such as those at big event including the 2019 Breakthrough Prize Awards and the GLSEN Respect Awards.
“It can be challenging sometimes to keep up with all the big names showing up on the carpet and finding different ways to describe each ensemble. At this point, you somewhat rely on teamwork; we’d often support one another in writing up red carpet events such as a recent article I did on Kendall Jenner being named Icon of the Year at the Revolve Awards,” explains Maurice. “It was a collaborated effort given the amount of details that had to be covered in the story, but, again, the experience was to partner up with a colleague and put a piece of content together.”
To go from being a loyal patron of a news outlet to becoming one of their revered writers has got to be among the top achievements in terms of personal fulfillment for any journalist, and Maurice recalls these moments fondly.
“I remember being on the bus, on my way to school, and I’d be reading all the latest news they had to offer. So, when I found myself in a position where I was even just interviewed for the role, it felt very surreal at that time. Writing for a company that boasts of [that many] readers is nerve wracking when you think about it, but it left me feeling with so much excitement… I couldn’t wait to embark my career in journalism at an established firm as big as Daily Mail..”
While readers across the globe have embraced his writing, he takes the praise in stride, never failing to recognize what matters most is doing his job.