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Founding Editors
Matthew C. Ehrlich
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sammye Johnson
Trinity University
Joe Saltzman
University of Southern California
Laura Castañeda
University of Southern California
Richard Ness
Western Illinois University
Editorial Board
Maurine H. Beasley
University of Maryland
Bonnie Brennen
Marquette University
Katherine Foss
Middle Tennessee State University
Mary-Lou Galician
Arizona State University
Loren Ghiglione
Northwestern University
Howard Good
SUNY, New Paltz
Norma Fay Green
Columbia College, Chicago
Radhika Parameswaran
Indiana University
Karen Miller Russell
University of Georgia
Barbie Zelizer
University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 9 - Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

Welcome From the Editors

Laura Castañeda, Matthew C. Ehrlich, Richard R. Ness, Joe Saltzman


Welcome to the ninth edition of The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture Journal (The IJPC Journal).

When Howard Good (professor of journalism at SUNY, New Paltz) sent the editors an essay on the future of the image of the journalist in popular culture, he posed an important question: what will that future be like? As Good writes, the image of the journalist “is, like the institution of journalism itself, in crisis. In fact, the image is in crisis because journalism is.” His conclusion that “it seems the journalist may have only a limited future as a figure in the panorama of popular culture” was a subject that we felt could benefit from further exploration.
So we decided to ask four prominent scholars to write their own predictions of what the future of the image of the journalist might be. They are Maurine Beasley, professor emerita of journalism at the University of Maryland College Park; Bonnie Brennen, professor emerita of journalism at Marquette University; Henry Jenkins, provost professor of communication, journalism, cinematic arts and education at the University of Southern California; and Paulette D. Kilmer, professor of communication at the University of Toledo. Some of the authors disagreed with Good, while others used his essay as a starting point for their own perspectives. The result is five essays that explore what the image of the journalist in popular culture may look like as the twenty-first century continues into an unknown future.

Elsewhere in this issue of The IJPC Journal, Blair Davis offers a unique perspective on cartoonists. The comics have presented many journalist characters over the years, with Clark Kent (aka Superman), Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man), and Brenda Starr being among the best-known examples. In his essay, Davis discusses how cartoonists on occasion have inserted themselves as characters into their own cartoons. In his words, “In drawing themselves into the pages and panels of their own work, such creators blur the line between journalism and fiction in a way that frequently creates a hybrid of both.”

Finally, Joe Saltzman presents the first analysis of the image of the journalist in Hallmark films: that is, films airing on the television channels owned by the well-known greeting card company. Saltzman discovered that journalists’ depictions in those films are largely positive. That in turn contradicts what many Hallmark viewers (who tend to be socially and politically conservative) likely have been told about the so-called “mainstream media.”

The Editors

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