*Video of previous Taylor Swift coverage.
(The Hill) — Gannett, the parent company of USA Today and local media outlet The Tennessean, announced it has hired a reporter to cover pop megastar Taylor Swift.
The Tennessean shared on Monday that veteran journalist Bryan West was the top choice in a pool of hundreds of candidates who applied for the position.
Michael A. Anastasi, Gannett’s vice president of local news and the editor of The Tennessean, told Variety that applicants for the position included fans of the artist, who refer to themselves as “Swifties,” and veteran hard news reporters, including one “very established White House reporter.”
West is a seasoned journalist, having won two Emmy Awards as a television producer, as well as the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for investigative work.
He is also a passionate Swift fan.
“I have been a fan-slash-expert of Taylor even when she was canceled during Reputation,” West said, according to The Tennesseean, referring to the period surrounding the release of Swift’s sixth studio album. “It almost feels like all the roads I’ve been on are merging for this position.”
West, 35, said his appreciation for the Grammy-winning artist’s work developed further in recent years as he recovered from struggles with depression and alcohol addiction, the outlet reported.
“The past five years have taught me so many valuable lessons, like always clean your side of the street — which is a Taylor lyric, but it’s from the sober community,” he said. “I learned to take things one day at a time.”
The announcement comes two months after Gannett listed the position.
USA Today reported that “West will explore Swift’s influence on music, business and social issues, while also chronicling the latest news from the superstar’s tour stops, her album releases and all the Easter eggs she drops along the way.”
West’s work on the Swift beat will also be shared across the entire USA Today Network, which includes more than 200 local websites and newspapers across 43 states.
“Taylor Swift is a singular cultural force who is shaping our world in arguably unprecedented fashion,” Anastasi said. “Chronicling her story, her impact, her influence takes unique expertise and experience and we’re confident Bryan is the right journalist for this moment.”
This comes amid a whirlwind period for Swift, who has topped both the box office and the charts with the releases of her Eras Tour concert film and her latest rerecorded albums. She is set to continue her record-breaking tour over the coming year, traveling to stops around the world.