By Matthew C. Ehrlich
Professor of journalism at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Professor of journalism and communication
at the University of Southern California
In considering the role and character of journalism in the years to come, we turn once more to popular culture. We will examine some of the ways pop culture has imagined the press of the future and has anticipated or addressed the transformations that journalism is grappling with now. We then will summarize what we know and do not know about the image of the journalist in popular culture, and we will suggest some paths that researchers of the future might take.
Ehrlich-Saltzman, Heroes and Scoundrels: The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture – page 141. ©University of Illinois Press, 2015
Speculative fiction’s journalism of tomorrow is not so different from popular culture’s journalism of today or yesterday.
Hero and scoundrel, delightful and despicable, public servant and public menace—that is the image of the journalist that popular culture gives us. Pop culture routinely makes the press matter by showing good journalism saving the day and bad journalism wreaking pain and havoc. It suggests that in spite of formidable obstacles and occasional wrenching change, the press and its noblest ideals will somehow endure. Therein lies the “unseen power” of journalism’s popular image, and that is why it is necessary that we continue to study and care about it.
Ehrlich-Saltzman, Heroes and Scoundrels: The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture – pages 150, 154. ©University of Illinois Press, 2015
Heroes at the Push of a Button: The Image of the Photojournalist in Videogames, by Jake Gaskill, graduate student, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, June 2007
Check out the other chapters: