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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 4 Method In media research, the idea of using a text to “think with” is associated most closely with James Carey. 21 Cultural and critical researchers can interpret media texts as “integrated strategies of symbolic action” that comment on culture and society. 22 In turn, researchers can contribute to the conversation by offering commentaries of their own about what those texts seem to say. There is a massive supply of potential texts that one could use in studying Superman‟s portrayal of the press. The character first appeared regularly in comic books in 1938. Over the years, Superman has been revamped (or, in the words of fans, “rebooted” or “retconned”) numerous times, so that comics historians speak of Superman‟s “Golden Age” (roughly from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s), the “Silver Age” (roughly the mid-1950s to the end of the 1960s), the “Bronze Age” (roughly the 1970s to a major “reboot” in 1986), the “Modern Age” (roughly 1986 to the early years of this century), and the current “Post Modern Age.” 23 Alongside the comics have been a Superman radio series that aired from 1940 to 1951 and introduced the familiar characters of editor Perry White and cub reporter Jimmy Olsen; an animated series of movie shorts in the early 1940s; a live action movie serial in 1948 and 1950; the 1951 movie Superman and the Mole Men that effectively served as the pilot for the George Reeves TV series that followed; a 1960s Broadway musical; four Christopher Reeve movies in the 1970s and 1980s; the 1990s TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the TV series Smallville that premiered the following decade; the 2006 film Superman Returns; and assorted spinoff books, cartoons, movies, and TV series. 24 The goal here is to achieve what has been described as “interpretive sufficiency” by engaging in critical readings of enough texts from different media and eras to be able to justify one‟s interpretations of the overall body of work. 25 The following were read, viewed, and

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 4 
 
 
Method 
 
In media research, the idea of using a text to “think with” is associated most closely with 
James Carey.
21
 Cultural and critical researchers can interpret media texts as “integrated strategies 
of symbolic action” that comment on culture and society.
22
 In turn, researchers can contribute to 
the conversation by offering commentaries of their own about what those texts seem to say. 
There is a massive supply of potential texts that one could use in studying Superman‟s 
portrayal of the press. The character first appeared regularly in comic books in 1938. Over the 
years, Superman has been revamped (or, in the words of fans, “rebooted” or “retconned”) 
numerous times, so that comics historians speak of Superman‟s “Golden Age” (roughly from the 
late 1930s to the mid-1950s), the “Silver Age” (roughly the mid-1950s to the end of the 1960s), 
the “Bronze Age” (roughly the 1970s to a major “reboot” in 1986), the “Modern Age” (roughly 
1986 to the early years of this century), and the current “Post Modern Age.”
23
 Alongside the 
comics have been a Superman radio series that aired from 1940 to 1951 and introduced the 
familiar characters of editor Perry White and cub reporter Jimmy Olsen; an animated series of 
movie shorts in the early 1940s; a live action movie serial in 1948 and 1950; the 1951 movie 
Superman and the Mole Men that effectively served as the pilot for the George Reeves TV series 
that followed; a 1960s Broadway musical; four Christopher Reeve movies in the 1970s and 
1980s; the 1990s TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the TV series 
Smallville that premiered the following decade; the 2006 film Superman Returns; and assorted 
spinoff books, cartoons, movies, and TV series.
24
 
 
The goal here is to achieve what has been described as “interpretive sufficiency” by 
engaging in critical readings of enough texts from different media and eras to be able to justify 
one‟s interpretations of the overall body of work.
25
 The following were read, viewed, and 


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