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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 3 depicted the press positively. 11 On balance, however, scholars have paid comparatively little attention to portrayals of journalism that have developed out of the comics, 12 even as the study of journalism‟s image in popular culture has grown in recent years. In reviewing research on cinema‟s depictions of the press, Brian McNair asserts that movies “are a source of the legitimation myths of liberal journalism, dramati[z]ing and articulating those shared values and ideas about how news works which, alongside many other myth systems, bind us together as citizens in a democracy.” 13 Scholars have examined how movies and other popular culture products treat freedom of expression, political and economic pressures, gender relationships, ethics, and other aspects of real-world journalism, as well as how they reproduce archetypes that influence how people view the press. 14 In such ways, the research on journalism‟s popular image overlaps with journalism studies generally, with scholars having examined the political economy of the press, 15 journalism‟s connection to the social status quo, 16 the gendered nature of newswork, 17 the place of myth in news, 18 the ethics of journalism, 19 the press‟s role in fostering or hindering citizenship and public engagement, 20 and so forth. This paper draws broadly upon all those interdisciplinary strands of research while filling the gap in the literature concerning Superman‟s representation of journalism. It uses Superman to examine the press‟s relationship to truth in the context of scholarship on the ethics of truthtelling, the norm of objectivity, and the role of gender in journalism. In terms of justice, the paper looks at journalism‟s mission to help achieve a more just world versus its propensity toward serving as an agent of the powerful. Regarding the “American way,” the paper addresses the press‟s relationship to public life via research on superhero mythology and the place of heroes in American journalism—specifically, who counts as a hero and what a hero is expected to do.

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 3 
depicted the press positively.
 On balance, however, scholars have paid comparatively little 
attention to portrayals of journalism that have developed out of the comics,
 even as the study of 
journalism‟s image in popular culture has grown in recent years. In reviewing research on 
cinema‟s depictions of the press, Brian McNair asserts that movies “are a source of the 
legitimation myths of liberal journalism, dramati[z]ing and articulating those shared values and 
ideas about how news works which, alongside many other myth systems, bind us together as 
citizens in a democracy.”
 Scholars have examined how movies and other popular culture 
products treat freedom of expression, political and economic pressures, gender relationships, 
ethics, and other aspects of real-world journalism, as well as how they reproduce archetypes that 
influence how people view the press.
 In such ways, the research on journalism‟s popular image 
overlaps with journalism studies generally, with scholars having examined the political economy 
of the press,
 journalism‟s connection to the social status quo,
 the gendered nature of 
 the place of myth in news,
 the ethics of journalism,
 the press‟s role in fostering 
or hindering citizenship and public engagement,
 and so forth. 
This paper draws broadly upon all those interdisciplinary strands of research while filling 
the gap in the literature concerning Superman‟s representation of journalism. It uses Superman to 
examine the press‟s relationship to truth in the context of scholarship on the ethics of truthtelling, 
the norm of objectivity, and the role of gender in journalism. In terms of justice, the paper looks 
at journalism‟s mission to help achieve a more just world versus its propensity toward serving as 
an agent of the powerful. Regarding the “American way,” the paper addresses the press‟s 
relationship to public life via research on superhero mythology and the place of heroes in 
American journalism—specifically, who counts as a hero and what a hero is expected to do. 

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