The Gannett-owned publication announced that Caché McClay, a journalist formerly with BBC News and TMZ, had her first day on the job Monday, based at the news chain’s publication the Tennessean near Nashville. After beating out hundreds of candidates, she joined that paper’s music team, but McClay’s work also will be shared to USA Today’s network of more than 200 local news publications across the United States.
“I grew up in a Beyoncé household, and her melodies were often my alarm on Saturday mornings — and certainly on the playlist for my family’s weekly cleaning rituals,” wrote McClay, a Howard University alum, in a statement shared Monday. “Moreover, I saw firsthand the impact Beyoncé had on my mom and sister as Black women, and that trickled down to me. Not only were we moved by her music, but we were moved by her remarkable worldwide achievements.”
In addition to Beyoncé’s music releases and performances, McClay’s beat will include coverage of the singer’s passionate fan base, the Beyhive, as well as her “evolution as a businesswoman.” Beyoncé launched fashion brand House of Deréon in 2011, followed by the athleisure clothing line Ivy Park, her new fragrance Cé Noir and an upcoming hair-care line.
McClay acknowledged that the Grammy winner rarely grants interviews, but said, “I look forward to hopefully getting up close to Beyoncé covering some of those details we don’t get.”
The position closely mirrors that of the publication’s Swift beat reporter, a job that was filled earlier this month by self-proclaimed Swiftie and award-winning journalist Bryan West.
The job listings for both gigs, which went up in October, invited excitement and controversy.
Many criticized the publication’s priorities, especially after seeing rounds of Gannett layoffs in recent years that left communities without coverage of local politics or public safety. Others praised the hiring as an innovative way to keep music journalism viable in an online age.
Gannett said the Swift and Beyoncé job listings were among more than 100 open roles at the company. It also noted that the chain had hired 225 journalists since March to cover other topics.
“We are so very excited to launch what will prove to be unparalleled coverage of an amazing businesswoman and artist,” said Michael A. Anastasi, head editor of the Tennessean and Gannett’s vice president of local news. “Caché is well prepared for this role, and her unique experience will further strengthen our extraordinary team of music journalists.”
McClay said she sees the personal effect Beyoncé has had on her as “a microcosm of her impact on the rest of the world.”
“Like many others, I have witnessed the trajectory of her career and am both amazed and inspired,” she said. “She teaches young women and girls to know their worth and walk confidently. Simultaneously, she uses her voice to elevate communities and social issues, alike.”
The first major Beyoncé event McClay will cover? The release of the documentary film that highlights moments from her Renaissance tour, both onstage and backstage. The film is set to hit theaters Dec. 1.