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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 20 readers.” 114 In a like vein, a more participatory journalism can invite citizens to see themselves as having the collective ability and responsibility to make a difference in the world. Conclusion Of course, one can be skeptical regarding such seemingly utopian hopes. Cultural and critical scholars have challenged the notion that “fan-made religions” such as that surrounding Superman can ever be truly emancipatory. 115 They also have questioned how much journalism can serve as an agent of change absent any broader structural reform of the press. Herbert Gans has written that although part of the “paraideology” of American journalism is its attachment to “altruistic democracy” and grassroots action, that translates into the belief that “citizens should help themselves without having to resort to government aid” and that “the economic barriers that obstruct the realization of the ideal” are of comparatively little concern. 116 As for participatory journalism, one recent study has found with only a few exceptions “little evidence of new media being deployed to allow journalists to do more journalism or to engage the public more effectively.” 117 According to another scholar, “Media professionals are likely to respond nostalgically and defensively to disruptive change, media management tend[s] to interpret such changes primarily in terms of their potential to `depopulate‟ the profession, and audiences seem to embrace these developments more as a way to bypass and disintermediate journalism altogether rather than as a mechanism to foster closer ties.” 118 Such caveats do not diminish the importance of journalism, which ideally should be the “essential nurturer of an informed citizenry.” 119 What they do is point once more to the usefulness of cultural and critical scholarship in sharpening our thinking about journalism, just as it helps us see via Superman “some of the complexity and the disturbing contradictions that mark the national soul.” 120 Superman on the surface appears wonderfully simple—the Man of Steel

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 20 
 
 
readers.”
114
 In a like vein, a more participatory journalism can invite citizens to see themselves 
as having the collective ability and responsibility to make a difference in the world. 
Conclusion 
 
Of course, one can be skeptical regarding such seemingly utopian hopes. Cultural and 
critical scholars have challenged the notion that “fan-made religions” such as that surrounding 
Superman can ever be truly emancipatory.
115
 They also have questioned how much journalism 
can serve as an agent of change absent any broader structural reform of the press. Herbert Gans 
has written that although part of the “paraideology” of American journalism is its attachment to 
“altruistic democracy” and grassroots action, that translates into the belief that “citizens should 
help themselves without having to resort to government aid” and that “the economic barriers that 
obstruct the realization of the ideal” are of comparatively little concern.
116
 As for participatory 
journalism, one recent study has found with only a few exceptions “little evidence of new media 
being deployed to allow journalists to do more journalism or to engage the public more 
effectively.”
117
 According to another scholar, “Media professionals are likely to respond 
nostalgically and defensively to disruptive change, media management tend[s] to interpret such 
changes primarily in terms of their potential to `depopulate‟ the profession, and audiences seem 
to embrace these developments more as a way to bypass and disintermediate journalism 
altogether rather than as a mechanism to foster closer ties.”
118
 
 
Such caveats do not diminish the importance of journalism, which ideally should be the 
“essential nurturer of an informed citizenry.”
119
 What they do is point once more to the 
usefulness of cultural and critical scholarship in sharpening our thinking about journalism, just as 
it helps us see via Superman “some of the complexity and the disturbing contradictions that mark 
the national soul.”
120
 Superman on the surface appears wonderfully simple—the Man of Steel 


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