Heroes and Scoundrels: The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture

Matthew C. Ehrlich, Joe Saltzman

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Whether it's the rule-defying lifer, the sharp-witted female newshound, or the irascible editor in chief, the journalists portrayed in popular culture have shaped our views of the press and its role in a free society since mass culture arose over a century ago. Drawing on portrayals of journalists in television, film, radio, novels, comics, plays, and other media, this book surveys how popular media have depicted the profession across time. The book's creative use of media artifacts provides thought-provoking forays into such fundamental issues as how pop culture mythologizes and demythologizes key events in journalism history and how it confronts issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation on the job. From Network to The Wire, from Lois Lane to Mikael Blomkvist, the book reveals how portrayals of journalism's relationship to history, professionalism, power, image, and war influence our thinking and the very practice of democracy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780252096990
ISBN (Print)9780252039027
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • popular culture
  • democracy
  • popular media
  • mass culture
  • journalists


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