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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 5 listened to: an anthology of Superman comic book adventures from the 1930s to the 1980s plus selected comics from recent years; the four Christopher Reeve movies plus Superman Returns and Superman and the Mole Men; all the 1940s animated movie shorts plus selected episodes of the 1940s radio series and the 1948-1950 live action film serial; selected episodes of the George Reeves TV series and of Lois & Clark; and most episodes of Smallville from 2001-2011. The latter TV series focused on Clark Kent growing up and assuming adult responsibilities, including becoming employed at the Daily Planet and engaged to Lois Lane. It has been called “the most well-constructed, faithful, and competent take on the [Clark] character to date.” 26 The paper also draws upon secondary sources including books and online sites that helped identify texts and episodes of potential interest while adding valuable historical context regarding Superman. 27 Superman and Truth Superman has been labeled an apostle of truth almost from the beginning. As early as March 1940, the spoken introduction to the Superman radio series was proclaiming him a “tireless fighter for truth and justice” (“the American way” would come later). 28 Even before then, the 1938 debut comic strip showed him seeking to uncover the truth behind a murder for which two people were being unjustly framed. 29 As such, Superman‟s work has been consistent with Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel‟s assertion that “[j]ournalism‟s first obligation is to the truth”; similarly, “Seek Truth and Report It” is the first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. 30 In his 1938 debut, Superman becomes a reporter in the guise of Clark Kent specifically to help him further the cause of truth in the public interest: “If I get news dispatches promptly, I‟ll be in a better position to help people.” 31 That makes it all the more ironic that in having a dual identity, Clark Kent is living a lie. Apart from concealing his true nature from almost everyone else, Clark regularly engages in

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 5 
 
 
listened to: an anthology of Superman comic book adventures from the 1930s to the 1980s plus 
selected comics from recent years; the four Christopher Reeve movies plus Superman Returns 
and Superman and the Mole Men; all the 1940s animated movie shorts plus selected episodes of 
the 1940s radio series and the 1948-1950 live action film serial; selected episodes of the George 
Reeves TV series and of Lois & Clark; and most episodes of Smallville from 2001-2011. The 
latter TV series focused on Clark Kent growing up and assuming adult responsibilities, including 
becoming employed at the Daily Planet and engaged to Lois Lane. It has been called “the most 
well-constructed, faithful, and competent take on the [Clark] character to date.”
26
 The paper also 
draws upon secondary sources including books and online sites that helped identify texts and 
episodes of potential interest while adding valuable historical context regarding Superman.
27
 
Superman and Truth 
 
Superman has been labeled an apostle of truth almost from the beginning. As early as 
March 1940, the spoken introduction to the Superman radio series was proclaiming him a 
“tireless fighter for truth and justice” (“the American way” would come later).
28
 Even before 
then, the 1938 debut comic strip showed him seeking to uncover the truth behind a murder for 
which two people were being unjustly framed.
29
 As such, Superman‟s work has been consistent 
with Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel‟s assertion that “[j]ournalism‟s first obligation is to the 
truth”; similarly, “Seek Truth and Report It” is the first principle of the Society of Professional 
Journalists Code of Ethics.
30
 In his 1938 debut, Superman becomes a reporter in the guise of 
Clark Kent specifically to help him further the cause of truth in the public interest: “If I get news 
dispatches promptly, I‟ll be in a better position to help people.”
31
 
 
That makes it all the more ironic that in having a dual identity, Clark Kent is living a lie. 
Apart from concealing his true nature from almost everyone else, Clark regularly engages in 


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