THE IMAGE OF THE JOURNALIST
IN SILENT FILM

Part One: 1890 to 1919

Produced and Written by Joe Saltzman and Liz Mitchell

Available on MP4 File

Journalist in Siilent Film

This IJPC video compilation for IJPC Associates runs 6:37:00 and contains 56 movie clips tracing the image of the journalist in films from 1890 to 1919.

This video can be used in a variety of ways. It is the perfect introduction to any communications class on the earliest images of the journalist in film. It could be used in any class on history, media, ethics, communication studies or any class discussing the role of the journalist in our society.

The video is for personal, research and educational use only and is available only to IJPC Associates. It is not available anywhere else.

Female Journalist

The first installment in the landmark study of “The Image of the Journalist in Silent Film, 1890-1929” has been published in The IJPC Journal,  Volume 7. It was written by Joe Saltzman,  professor of journalism and communications and IJPC director at USC Annenberg and Liz Mitchell, Senior IJPC researcher. It covers 1,937 films from 1890 to 1919.  Part Two will cover the years from 1920 to the beginning of recorded sound in 1929 and will be published in 2019. This is the first comprehensive study of the beginning of cinema’s earliest depictions of the journalist, mostly newspaper reporters, editors and publishers.

More than 10 tables summarize the results of the study by decade, genre, gender, ethnicity, media category, job title, and description of the journalist’s professional and personality traits. The discussion segment reviews the 1,937 films in the context of specific kinds of journalists: male reporters, war correspondents, female reporters, columnists, cub reporters, editors, critics, cartoonists and illustrators, photojournalists and newsreel shooters, pack journalists, printers and other news employees, and publishers, owners and media barons. There are also sections dealing with the journalism as depicted in the early years of the silent films: romance in the newsroom; poverty, honesty and morality: newsboys and office boys; the importance of the newspapers in silent film and the unidentified news staff; depiction of journalism in silent films as analyzed by real journalists, and journalism and the new motion picture industry.

In addition to the major article, there are eleven appendices that chronicle each of the 1,937 films by including the original reviews of the film in a variety of silent film periodicals. Most of the silent films included in the study were not available for viewing; They are either considered lost, whereabouts unknown or in special collections throughout the world. Most of the research relied on reviews in the many silent film periodicals that populated the early years of the 20thcentury.

War Correspondents (1898)

War correspondents of different New York newspapers are running up the street in a bunch to the cable office to telegraph the latest news back to their newspapers.

 

President McKinley’s Inspection of Camp Wikoff (1898)

A newspaper photographer tries to get a colonel to pose for a picture, but is unsuccessful as the colonel gallops away.

 

Drefys Affair Reporters

The Flight of Reporters: The Dreyfus Affair (1899)

Reporters of newspapers of opposed opinion start fighting in the court room before the start of the trial.

 

Delivering Newspapers (1903)

Approximately 50 newsboys fight for position in line to sell the New York World newspapers.

 

President Roosevelt’s Four of July Oration (1903)

President Roosevelt’s departure by carriage is held up by reporters interviewing him.

 

Swipsey the newsboy

The Boy Detective or The Abductors Failed (1908)

Newsboy Swipesy (played by an unknown female actor) is a juvenile Sherlock

 

At the Altar

At the Altar – The Interception of a Rejected Suitor’s Vengeance (1909)

Newsboy comes to help policeman on his way to warn a couple about to be married about a rejected suitor’s plan to kill the bride.
The newsboy gets there just in the nick of time. The shot goes off, but does no harm.

 

Lucky Jim (1909)

Newspaper article reveals that a man married to a woman another man loves has died.

 

Politician love story

The Politician’s Love Story (1909)

Newspaper Cartoonist Peters of the Daily Bugle vilely caricatures a political boss who vows revenge.

But when he meets the pretty girl, he falls in love with her and forgives her

 

Comrades (1911)

Morning newspaper society news article reports that a member of Parliament

is expected to be a guest in a local man’s house

giving one reader an idea – he decides to impersonate the M.P.

 

The Conflict’s End (1912)

A girl reporter runs down a gang of Italian counterfeiters “and with unusual ingenity recues herself from their toils.

 

The Good for Nothing (1912)

Dick Evans is a failure in the city so he returns home, buys the newspaper and becomes a successful editor.

A minister lends Dick the money to buy the newspaper.

Dick is in love with the postmaster’s daughter, but that doesn’t stop him from writing an editorial

telling his readers that the town needs another postmaster who is more up-to-date.

After reading the editorial, the postmaster is furious.

Dick writes an editorial proclaiming that he is going to run for mayor against his father.

This infuriates his father, the postmaster.

Dick pays off his debt, and shows and the minister an editorial in the next day’s paper:

Dick has decided to resign from the mayoral campaign and has thrown

the paper’s support to the current postmaster

removing all obstacles to his marriage to the postmaster’s daughter.

 

 

Help Help

Help! Help! (1912)

Mrs. Suburbanite reads in the morning newspaper that burglars have been operating in her neighborhood

and is thrown into a fearful panic.

 

Newsboy

The Land Beyond the Sunset (1912)

Newsboy Joe lives in the New York tenements with his drunken and abusive grandmother and dreams of a better life.

 

Fantomas

Fantomas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (1913)

Journalist Jerome Fandor, reporter on the Capital newspaper

and Inspector’s Juve’s friend go after the master criminal, Fantomas.

 

Fantomas

Fantomas II  -- Juve vs. Fantomas (1913)

Journalist Jerome Fandor, reporter on the Capital newspaper and Inspector’s Juve’s friend.

 

Jerome Landor journalist

Jerome Landor journalist

Jerome Landor journalist

Jerome Landor journalist

Fantomas III – The Murderous Corpse (1913)

Journalist Jerome Fandor, reporter on the Capital newspaper and Inspector’s Juve’s friend.

 

Fantomas versus Fantomas (1914)

 

Fantomas: The False Magistrate (1914)

 

Dolly of the Dailies

The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies (1914)

Reporter Dolly Desmond of The New York Comet. Managing Editor Rockwell Crosby.

 

 

Adventure of the Hasty Elopement (1914)

Amateur Detective Octavius is reading the morning newspaper when he finds a new case to solve.

 

Newsreel Cameraman

A Busy Day (1914).

A newsreel cameraman keeps shooting as the newsreel director gets into an argument

with a woman during a military parade.

 

Perils of Pauline (1914)

Reporter covers burning building and Pauline’s rescue. The publicity arouses the curiosity of the public

causing Pauline to escape to the country.

 

Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914)

Newspaper article reports on a search for a missing heiress. Man reads the story and figures out where the heiress is

and marries her before she finds out how rich she is.

 

Zudora: A 20-Episode Serial (1914)

Enterprising reporter finds a note about a duel resulting in a sensational newspaper story.

 

The Cub

The Cub (1915)

Cub Reporter Steve Oldham of The Louisville Gazette is sent to mountain country to over a hillbilly feud

and gets caught in the war between feuding families.

 

Walter Jameson JournalistWalter Jameson Journalist


Walter Jameson Journalist

Exploits of Elaine: A 14-Episode Serial (1915)

Journalist Walter Jameson is Dr. Watson to Detective Craig Kennedy.

He is a first-rate newspaperman and chronicles Kennedy’s adventures.

 

Fatty’s New Role (1915)

Newspaper article about a bum blowing up inhospitable saloons results in a bar’s owner

thinking that a poor hobo is a mad bomber.

 

How Molly Malone Made Good

How Molly Malone Made Good (1915)

Molly Malone gets a job on the New York Tribune and proves she can be as good a reporter as anyone in the newspaper.

Molly Malone never gives up. She races against the clock to win a reporter’s job.

The editors bet on her chances of making her deadline.

Associate Editor Morrison has fallen in love with the scrappy reporter.

 

Marvelous Marathoner (1915)

Newspaper publishes a picture of a young businessman.

A woman who thinks the man has done her wrong looks him up and demands satisfaction.

A man in love with a young woman is rebuffed by the girl’s father.

So when he thinks the father has left his daughter alone in a taxicab the young man proposes

before realizing that the woman in the cab is not the woman he loves.

He jumps out of the cab and runs away.

 

 

Beatrice Fairfax

 

Beatrice Fairfax

 

Beatrice Fairfax

 

Beatrice Fairfax

Beatrice Fairfax: A 15-Episode Serial (1916)

Columnist Beatrice Fairfax offers advice to the lovelorn and in each episode heps her readers with their troubles.

Assisting her is energetic Cub Reporter Jimmy Barton.

In real life, the popular newspaper advice column, Ask Beatrice Fairfax,

was the world’s first of its kind when launched in 1898.

On film, Fairfax is a resourceful agony aunt-crime fighter working with Barton

to investigate and solve problems sent in by troubled readers.

 

His Picture in the Papers

 

His Picture in the Papers

His Picture in the Papers (1916)

Young man can only get the woman he loves if he becomes famous and

manages to get his picture in the New York newspapers.

 

Hoodoo Ann

Hoodoo Ann (1916)

Young woman mirrors her life on the pages of Vogue magazine.

 

Innocence of Lizette (1916)

Newsgirl Lizette, an orphan, works at the newsstand run by News Vendor Paul. Granny helps take care of the newsstand.

The elderly millionaire, mentally depressed since the death of his wife and little girl,

offers to adopt Lizette as his own daughter.

Though Paul and Granny are heartbroken, they consent realizing

that Lizette will have a better life than they can provide.

 

The Lottery Man (1916)

Reporter Jack Wright gets a job on a newspaper to help his family.

But his meager salary leads him to devise a lottery scheme in which he is the grand prize.

 

Social Secretary - Adam Buzzard

The Social Secretary (1916)

Gossip Reporter Adam Buzzard (played by Erich von Stroheim)

is an unscrupulous journalist on the lookout for juicy scandals.

 

 

Philippe GuerandePhilippe Guerande

 

Philippe Guerande

 

 

Philippe Guerande

 

Philippe GuerandePhilippe Guerande

Les vampires: A 10-Episode Serial (1916)

Top Reporter Philippe Guerande of the Paris Chronicle battles

a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Reporter Philippe Guerande of the Paris Chronicle

continues to try to capture the Grand Vampire and his secret society of criminals.

In the last chapter of the serial, Guerande is now married,

but knows that there can be no happiness as long as the vampires exist.

 

Dick Annessley cub reporter

The Mystery of the Double Cross, a 15-Episode Serial (1917)

Cub Reporter Dick Annesley of the Daily Observer

 

A Reckless Romeo (1917)

A newsreel cameraman takes film of The Husband flirting with a girl in the park.

Later, the husband, his wife and mother-in-law go to the movies only to see his indiscretion on the big screen.

 

Reporter in siilent film

The Scarlet Car (1917)

Editor Samuel Winthrop owns the Bolton Argus in a New England town.

His son, Billy, is a carefree idler who vows to reform to save his father’s paper from financial ruin.

 


Mary Norton girl reporterMary Norton girl reporter

 

Mary Norton girl reporter

Seven Keys to Baldpate (1917)

Reporter Mary Norton of the Reuton News

interrupts George Washington Magee, a writer who is trying to win a bet to write a novel in 24 hours.

A series of melodramatic incidents at the inn take place,

including a bribery story involving the mayor, gunplay, the theft of money and various intruders.

Through it all, Writer Magee finishes his book, which embodies everything that has happened to him.

 

Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley (1918)

Two brothers are newsboys helping the family of Amarilly, a scrub-cigarette girl

living in a tenement home in Clothes-Line Alley with her Irish family.

 

Bud’s Recruit (1918)

The Evening News prints a story that has the wrong brother enlisting in the draft because

Bud impersonated his brother forcing him to do the right thing.

 

Patsy O'Rourke Cub Reporter

 

Patsy O'Rourke Cub Reporter

The Floor Below (1918)

Cub Rporter-Copy Girl Patricia “Peggy” O’Rourke of The Sentinel.

The Managing Editor tells his star reporter Ziegler that he wants the inside story

about a series of robberies linked to a mission run by a millionaire.

He is angry that the reporter has nothing new on the Madison Avenue theft and wants the story now.

Stubbs is head of the women’s section, “a journalism antique.”

He yells for Patsy to take some copy to the composing room. She puts away her dice and runs to Stubb’s desk.

She looks at the copy, read it aloud and the newsroom erupts into laughter.

Stubbs can’t find his pocket watch (which dropped in his draw).

He thinks Patsy has stolen it. She swears she is innocent. The editor fires Patsy.

While Patsy makes her case, Reporter Ziegler tells the editor that

Patsy might be perfect for the undercover work needed to get the story about the corrupt mission.

The editor gives her the assignment. Patsy then asks him, “Does that mean I’m not fired?”

Patsy is a “little girl with a big, big job.”

The rest of the film shows Patsy disguising herself as a derelict,

living at the millionaire’s mission, getting the story and falling in love.

 

The Lady of the Dugout (1918)

Journalists listen to a story told by real-life outlaw Al Jennings.

The two journalists are the city editor of a Los Angeles newspaper and the editor of a London Journal.

The rest of the film tells the story of Al and his brother Frank Jennings who stole loot but had nothing to eat

when they happen to cross paths with another needy soul, a lady in a simple dirt home dugout of the prairie.

Al falls in love with her, but as a fugitive outlaw he can’t stay.

 

 

The Modern Musketeer (1918)

Reporter John Blabb works for Town Topics.

He plays a small role in a film about a young man who inherited the spirit of the French musketeer

and is misunderstood by modern women.

 

Old Wives for New (1918)

A variety of journalists show up to do their jobs –

an editor in his office tells a reporter what to do,one reporter covers a shooting,

several show up to cover passengers getting off a ship.

 

A Society Sensation (1918)

Newspaper article by a special correspondent has major repercussions for a man’s daughter.

 

John Risca Journalist

 

John Risca JournalistJohn Risca Journalist

Stella Maris (1918)

Well-known Journalist John Risca is unhappily married ans has fallen in love with

Stella Maris, a paralyzed young woman.

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalist

 

Harry Houdini as journalistHarry Houdini as journalistHarry Houdini as journalist

The Grim Game (1919)

Reporter Harvey Hanford of The Call (played by Magician-Illusionist Harry Houdini).

Owner and Publisher Clifton Allison and the staff of The Call.