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Founding Editors
Matthew C. Ehrlich
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sammye Johnson
Trinity University
Joe Saltzman
University of Southern California
Laura Castañeda
University of Southern California
Richard Ness
Western Illinois University
Editorial Board
Maurine H. Beasley
University of Maryland
Bonnie Brennen
Marquette University
Katherine Foss
Middle Tennessee State University
Mary-Lou Galician
Arizona State University
Loren Ghiglione
Northwestern University
Howard Good
SUNY, New Paltz
Norma Fay Green
Columbia College, Chicago
Radhika Parameswaran
Indiana University
Karen Miller Russell
University of Georgia
Barbie Zelizer
University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

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


Laura Castañeda, Richard R. Ness, Joe Saltzman, Matthew C. Ehrlich


Welcome to the tenth edition of The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture Journal (The IJPC Journal).

Sports have long been an important window into our society, with popular culture regularly featuring the sports journalist as a prominent character. Sports reporters and writers in movies, novels, television, and other popular media have not been much different from their “straight news” counterparts, although their venue has made them unique. There have been syndicated sports columnists who do anything to get an exclusive, including using blackmail and payoffs. But the majority of sportswriter characters simply have gone out and done their jobs. Some have been heroic in ferreting out corruption in sports, risking public animosity. Most often they have been used as realistic dressing for biographies of sports personalities.

This edition of The IJPC Journal looks more closely at the character of the sports journalist. It features contributions from some of the world’s foremost scholars on sports media and on journalism’s image in popular culture.

Dan Durbin identifies the most common ways in which films have depicted sports journalists, including sportswriters serving as “Greek chorus” characters and real-life sports journalists playing themselves on screen.

Brock Adams examines how the movie "Blue Chips" portrays the relationship between a premier college basketball program and a sportswriter covering the program.

James Cartee provides a semiotic analysis of the Disney film "Iron Will," which transforms a sports journalist covering a dog sledding race into a symbol of hope, affirmation, and perseverance.

Ben Carrington examines the image of the Black sports journalist and how Black sports journalists have been ignored or forgotten in real life as well as in popular culture.

Donna Halper draws on her scholarly expertise in gender, sports, and media to analyze how popular culture has depicted the female sports journalist.

Alan Tomlinson, who for many years has researched the social history and sociology of sports, leisure, and popular culture, focuses on the image of the sports journalist in novels.

Chad Painter studies the portrayal of sports journalists in such television series as "Sports Night," "The Odd Couple," and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Julianna Kirschner looks at the television series "Ted Lasso" and its sportswriter character Trent Crimm, who over the show’s first two seasons has evolved from an adversarial character into a more sympathetic one.

In a special interview, Jeff Fellenzer interviews Ron Shelton, the writer-director of such classic sports films as "Bull Durham." The interview reveals Shelton’s views of how movies have portrayed sportswriters.

Also in this issue is the peer-review article by Maxine De Wulf Helskens, Sarah Van Leuven and Frederik Dhaenens of the Ghent University on how Flemish audiences perceive fiction movies and television series about journalism. It was discovered that variables such as country of production, the year of release the plot, the number of journalists, their gender, their role in the production and the demographic characteristics of responds significantly influenced how the fictional representation of journalism is perceived by Flemish audiences.

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