Print Journalists in Movies Exhibit Integrity, Excellent Racks

The Washington Post directs your attention to the startlingly comprehensive Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture project at USC Annenberg. Cataloging over 46,000 references to fictional journalists in books, print, films, and TV, the IJPC concludes that print journalists appearing in movies are generally depicted as beacons of integrity, while TV journalists come across as sleazebags. Project director Joe Saltzman theorizes this is because print journalists are mostly abstract figures that readers only encounter on the page, while TV folk appear in living color, flaws and all. Hence Scarlett Johannson in Woody Allen's new movie Scoop, adopting the glasses-make-me-look-smart school of journalist acting. It's a two-part denial process, though — we only believe a nubile young starlet as a hard-working reporter because there are few enough popularly envisioned print journalists to counteract the fantasy with pale, doughy, stubbly reality. Then again, there's no reason one can't envision Scarlett rolling around on a Lebanese beach with CNN mancake Karl Penhaul. Even NYC-local newsgal Jodie Applegate would have to call that cool.

It Pays to Be a Print Journalist — in Films [WP] [via Romensko]
Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture [Official site]