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Thinking about Journalism with Superman
Unformatted Document Text:  Thinking about Journalism with Superman 8 pointed caricature of what we, the noncriminal element, were really like”). 44 There have been many times that Clark has been a skilled and aggressive journalist. In 1946, the Superman radio series portrayed the reporter and his newspaper successfully taking on a Ku Klux Klan-like group. 45 During the following decade, budget constraints compelled the George Reeves TV series to downplay superpowered spectacle in favor of showing Clark at work. Especially early in the series, he was depicted as a “combative, pugnacious,” and “tenacious investigative reporter” capable even of standing up to a lynch mob. 46 After the Superman comic strip was “rebooted” in 1986, according to one observer, “Clark Kent was no longer a fumbling loser; he became a Pulitzer Prize winner who moonlighted as a successful novelist.” 47 The TV series that followed portrayed him much the same way. In one Lois & Clark episode, he was nominated for a prestigious award for writing a retirement home scandal story that his editor Perry White praised as being “first-class journalism” with an “emotional wallop.” 48 It is when Clark is the least mild-mannered and “objective” and when he does embrace an agenda that he is the most effective reporter. Objectivity as a journalistic means toward obtaining the truth is often problematic in Superman, although it is typically more so for the female journalistic characters than it is for Clark Kent. Following his 1986 reboot, Clark was said to have escaped “the white-bread image of a wimp” in becoming “cooler” and “the epitome of virility.” 49 Such manly qualities have frequently been associated with “hard news.” For example, one scholar has said of Edward R. Murrow‟s celebrated World War II dispatches that he and his fellow radio newsmen (who were in fact almost all men) embodied “middle-class, American masculinity” characterized by unflappable cool under pressure. Even when engaging in implicit advocacy the way that Murrow did on behalf of the British during the London Blitz—that is, even when skirting around the

Authors: Ehrlich, Matthew.
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Thinking about Journalism with Superman 8 
 
 
pointed caricature of what we, the noncriminal element, were really like”).
44
 There have been 
many times that Clark has been a skilled and aggressive journalist. In 1946, the Superman radio 
series portrayed the reporter and his newspaper successfully taking on a Ku Klux Klan-like 
group.
45
 During the following decade, budget constraints compelled the George Reeves TV 
series to downplay superpowered spectacle in favor of showing Clark at work. Especially early 
in the series, he was depicted as a “combative, pugnacious,” and “tenacious investigative 
reporter” capable even of standing up to a lynch mob.
46
 After the Superman comic strip was 
“rebooted” in 1986, according to one observer, “Clark Kent was no longer a fumbling loser; he 
became a Pulitzer Prize winner who moonlighted as a successful novelist.”
47
 The TV series that 
followed portrayed him much the same way. In one Lois & Clark episode, he was nominated for 
a prestigious award for writing a retirement home scandal story that his editor Perry White 
praised as being “first-class journalism” with an “emotional wallop.”
48
 It is when Clark is the 
least mild-mannered and “objective” and when he does embrace an agenda that he is the most 
effective reporter. 
Objectivity as a journalistic means toward obtaining the truth is often problematic in 
Superman, although it is typically more so for the female journalistic characters than it is for 
Clark Kent. Following his 1986 reboot, Clark was said to have escaped “the white-bread image 
of a wimp” in becoming “cooler” and “the epitome of virility.”
49
 Such manly qualities have 
frequently been associated with “hard news.” For example, one scholar has said of Edward R. 
Murrow‟s celebrated World War II dispatches that he and his fellow radio newsmen (who were 
in fact almost all men) embodied “middle-class, American masculinity” characterized by 
unflappable cool under pressure. Even when engaging in implicit advocacy the way that Murrow 
did on behalf of the British during the London Blitz—that is, even when skirting around the 


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