Chasing the Stars
A Chevy Chase native has made a career out of reporting on celebrities
Claudia Rosenbaum dashed out of the Norristown, Pennsylvania, courtroom with roughly 10 minutes to spare. If she didn’t make it back to her seat in time, she risked not getting back in. But as an entertainment news reporter for BuzzFeed covering Bill Cosby’s April retrial for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, she had to post a tweet based on what she’d just heard.
“Day 7 of Bill Cosby’s retrial. In an early morning motions hearing, Judge O’Neill decided he would allow in #BillCosby’s prior deposition where he admitted to using quaaludes to have sex with women.” @CJRosenbaum, April 17.
This was one of dozens of messages Rosenbaum posted after Bill Cosby’s retrial began on April 9—no easy task, given the phone ban in the courtroom. Rosenbaum learned to use her breaks wisely. “It was barely enough time to send out a couple tweets, send the story to my editor and run to the bathroom,” she says.
In Rosenbaum’s 12 years in the entertainment reporting business, she has covered both the civil and criminal cases surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, and Taylor Swift’s trial involving a DJ in Denver. She has attended more of Lindsay Lohan’s court dates than Lohan herself. When she learned that Cosby’s retrial was about to begin, she packed her bags and temporarily moved from her Los Angeles-area home to a Marriott hotel not far from the courthouse, not knowing how long she’d be away. She didn’t return home for more than three weeks.
Rosenbaum, 50, grew up in Chevy Chase. After graduating from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1985, she majored in political science at Boston University. She became interested in journalism while working for U.S Rep. Roy Dyson, a Democrat from the Eastern Shore. One day, two Baltimore Sun reporters camped out in Dyson’s waiting room at his office at the Capitol to ask him a question. “I remember [Dyson’s] chief of staff calling to complain to their editor,” Rosenbaum says. “To my surprise, their boss stood up for them and applauded their determination. I thought then I was working on the wrong side. Their jobs looked much more fun and interesting than mine.”
The Washington Times hired her as an editorial assistant in the early 1990s. She then worked for The Prince George Journal as a full-time reporter, covering a few trials and court hearings. After that, she went to law school to become a legal correspondent.
She graduated from the University of San Francisco and was admitted to the California bar in 2001, then moved to Los Angeles, where, Rosenbaum says, “entertainment is pretty much the only game in town.”
Getting started in the business: “I started at Us Weekly as a freelancer and was later hired on staff, working my way up to a senior reporting position,” Rosenbaum says. “Originally the job was just supposed to entail covering the celebrity comings and goings at the courthouse—divorces, lawsuits, criminal hearings—but it wasn’t long before celebrity reporting for the magazine had me trekking around the world.”
How she met her husband: The singer Pink had been hinting about a Costa Rican wedding over New Year’s in 2006. With no New Year’s plans of her own, Rosenbaum told her editor that she’d be happy to take that assignment. “They had also sent over this cute English man as one of the freelance photographers,” she says. They joined forces to figure out how to get the photos and coverage they needed. They started dating after that trip, and went on to cover celebrity assignments together in Fiji, Colorado, New Orleans and many other places. “Two years after Pink’s wedding, we had our own beach wedding in Todos Santos, Mexico,” Rosenbaum says.