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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 10 - Fall 2021 - Fall 2022

Real to Reel: The Image of the Sports Journalist in Film

Daniel T. Durbin


This article examines the image of sports journalists as portrayed in films. It does not offer a comprehensive list of sports journalist roles in films. Rather, it identifies three general categories of sports journalists as portrayed in film and presents illustrations of each. The two most common roles, fictional journalists playing a sort of Greek chorus and actual journalists portraying themselves, create an image of the sports journalist that reflects our broader popular image, as an expositor, a secondary character who fills in details about the plot and the protagonists. In one much smaller category, the image of the sports journalist is used as a signifier of American masculinity, an embodiment of the “common man” living a wish fulfillment in his occupation and in the narrative. Illustrations from various films show how the image of sports journalists function in movie plots.

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