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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
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Radhika Parameswaran
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University of Georgia
Barbie Zelizer
University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 9 - Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

The 21st Century Image of the Journalist in Hallmark Films, 2000-2020

Joe Saltzman


A number of surprises emerged in this first analysis of the 21st-century image of the journalist in Hallmark films.

The great majority of journalists depicted in 360 films were positive images and since a majority of Hallmark viewers get their concept of a journalist from news organizations and social media friendly to their belief system, these images contradicted most of what they have been told about mainstream newsgatherers.

A large portion of the major characters were strong females and while White journalists made up the majority depicted, Black and Asian characters showed up in more frequent numbers than comparative films and TV programs featuring journalists. They were also as powerful and positive as their White counterparts. Hispanics, however, were disproportionally underrepresented.

The negative journalists – usually paparazzi and tabloid journalists – were usually minor characters found in mystery series and were either murdered, sent to prison, or tried to redeem themselves at the end of the film.

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