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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 21 rights wrongs and saves the day. Journalism in Superman also can seem reassuringly uncomplicated. Far from being “depopulated,” the Daily Planet newsroom in Smallville is teeming with life, apparently untouched by the financial pressures buffeting the newspaper industry. Its staff is unburdened by expectations to blog or multitask and free to pursue scoops the old-fashioned way. Such depictions embody a fondly nostalgic perspective on the press, just as Superman himself seems to embody a fondly nostalgic perspective on truth and justice. When Superman‟s creators try to complicate that perspective, they do so at their own risk. In the spring of 2011, they issued a comic book in which the Man of Steel renounces his American citizenship. “I‟m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” he says. “`Truth, justice, and the American way‟—it‟s not enough anymore. The world‟s too small, too connected.” The storyline triggered denunciations from some fans and conservatives. (“Besides being riddled with a blatant lack of patriotism, and respect for our country, Superman's current creators are belittling the United States as a whole,” a Republican activist told Fox News.) Others applauded. “Other governments must not view Superman as an arm of the U.S. military establishment,” wrote one commentator on the website ComicsAlliance.com. “Superman must be a symbol for peace, balance and impartiality. I could not be happier with what the authors did in [this comic book], and I may even start picking up Superman comics again. They've made Superman relevant again.” 121 Thinking about journalism with Superman suggests that today‟s journalists face a comparable challenge—how to transcend nostalgia and assume the risks associated with remaking the press so that it remains relevant in a more complicated age. As one scholar has put it, Superman highlights “things we need to know and think about from time to time,” such as “the strengths and dangers inherent in the American character.” 122 Those include the strengths

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 21 
 
 
rights wrongs and saves the day. Journalism in Superman also can seem reassuringly 
uncomplicated. Far from being “depopulated,” the Daily Planet newsroom in Smallville is 
teeming with life, apparently untouched by the financial pressures buffeting the newspaper 
industry. Its staff is unburdened by expectations to blog or multitask and free to pursue scoops 
the old-fashioned way. Such depictions embody a fondly nostalgic perspective on the press, just 
as Superman himself seems to embody a fondly nostalgic perspective on truth and justice. 
 
When Superman‟s creators try to complicate that perspective, they do so at their own 
risk. In the spring of 2011, they issued a comic book in which the Man of Steel renounces his 
American citizenship. “I‟m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” 
he says. “`Truth, justice, and the American way‟—it‟s not enough anymore. The world‟s too 
small, too connected.” The storyline triggered denunciations from some fans and conservatives. 
(“Besides being riddled with a blatant lack of patriotism, and respect for our country, Superman's 
current creators are belittling the United States as a whole,” a Republican activist told Fox 
News.) Others applauded. “Other governments must not view Superman as an arm of the U.S. 
military establishment,” wrote one commentator on the website ComicsAlliance.com. 
“Superman must be a symbol for peace, balance and impartiality. I could not be happier with 
what the authors did in [this comic book], and I may even start picking up Superman comics 
again. They've made Superman relevant again.”
121
 
 
Thinking about journalism with Superman suggests that today‟s journalists face a 
comparable challenge—how to transcend nostalgia and assume the risks associated with 
remaking the press so that it remains relevant in a more complicated age. As one scholar has put 
it, Superman highlights “things we need to know and think about from time to time,” such as 
“the strengths and dangers inherent in the American character.”
122
 Those include the strengths 


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