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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 6 - Fall 2015

The Reel World: Women’s Film Portrayals as Reflectors of Journalistic Practices and Social Mores

Sammye Johnson

Abstract


Movies, as an image-forming medium, have been influential in determining the public’s attitudes toward journalists―whether male or female. How accurate and realistic are the film portrayals of women journalists; have these portrayals affected how society perceives the media as a whole? If you’ve been thinking about developing a journalism, mass communication, or media studies course using films to cover wide-ranging topics, this essay offers suggestions for a seminar that will constantly challenge you and your students. The thrust of the Women Journalists in Film class is multi-level, with 16 films examined from three perspectives: sociological, historical, and journalistic. The newspaper industry is examined in "The Front Page" (1931), "His Girl Friday" (1940), "Meet John Doe" (1940), "Arise, My Love" (1941), "Woman of the Year" (1942), "Absence of Malice" (1981), "The Paper" (1994), and "State of Play" (2009). Broadcasting films are represented by "Network" (1976), "The China Syndrome" (1979), "The Electric Horseman" (1979), "Broadcast News" (1987), "Up Close and Personal" (1996), and "Morning Glory" (2010). The magazine industry is revealed in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003) and "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006).

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