Everything I Need To Know About Journalism I Learned From Superman
(And Other Comic Books)

By Tom Henderson

(Henderson is the managing editor of the Polk County Itemizer-Observer in Dallas, Oregon, and “Mild Mannered Reporter” columnist for the paper. He is also President of the Society of Professional Journalists Greater Oregon Professional Chapter. He has seen “Superman: The Movie” 812 times and always cries when Krypton explodes.)


"In a way, Superman is like a reporter. His name and face are constantly in
the news, but it isn't about the spotlight. It's about truth and justice.
Like the best reporters, he takes responsibility for his actions and always
considers the consequences." -- Clark Kent

"Hey, newspapers have their advantages. There are some things newspapers can
do that television can't. Sure. Just try and line a birdcage with a TV
newscast." -- Jimmy Olsen

"I don't want to exploit your situation. But in my line of work, I see a lot
of tragedy. I've watched friends die. I've had to do my job amid all manner
of inhumanity. But I do it because I believe I can help, because I believe
that the press serves the public." -- Clark Kent

"Run with your story, Jimmy. If you're telling the truth, you have nothing
to apologize for." -- Lois Lane

"You wouldn't want to betray a secret that's vital to national security,
though even that might have exceptions. America is founded on the notion of
open and honest dialogue, Jim. We're the Fourth Estate and it's our job to
tell what we know." -- Clark Kent

"News never sleeps." -- Lois Lane

"Ah, the vultures of the press descend. Sometimes I'm ashamed that I make my
living, such as it is, as a member of the glorious Fourth Estate." -- Peter Parker

"I've got a minor in just about everything. A good reporter needs to know
all kinds of things." -- Clark Kent

"You've still got the power of the press, Clark. It's also more powerful
than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet and able to change the
course of mighty rivers. If it wasn't - if it couldn't help people - I
wouldn't be here. And neither would you." -- Lois Lane

"Look at this front page! Murder! Robbery! Can't we ever have a nice human
interest story? After all, life has its tender magic too." -- Perry White

"Who you are is largely based on what you do, and our work here as reporters
can be, at times...well, almost heroic." -- Clark Kent

"This is a newspaper, gentlemen...and lady. That means we investigate the
news. Even outlandish stories like this Superman business." -- Perry White

"A reporter is supposed to cover all sides of a story, even if one of the
sides is a slimebag." -- Supergirl

"This is your first lesson in this racket, doll. It's every man for himself.
You want a scoop? Go get your own." -- Jimmy Olsen

"A sharp eye is vital in getting the facts of a story." -- Lois Lane

"Action is the key to a good news photo." -- Lois Lane

"All's fair in love and print journalism." -- Clark Kent

"Do it because I'm the editor." -- Robbie Robertson

"In the news biz, everyone has a weird quirk." -- Lois Lane

"Journalism is just a gun. It only has one bullet. But if you aim it right,
that's all you need. Aim it right and you can blow a kneecap off the world."
-- Spider Jerusalem

"This is a newspaper, not a social club!" -- Perry White

"The words 'interesting' and 'public transit story' simply don't ever
combine." -- Lois Lane

"In some ways, you're fortunate to be informed by two sets of ideals.
Whether you're being a good hero or a good reporter, you've always been a
good man." -- Ma Kent

"You look like you're in a rush, Kent. Guess this transportation feature is
more exciting than we thought...if that's possible." -- Lois Lane

"And what makes you want to be a reporter, Clark? You seem
too...mild-mannered for such a nasty, nosy job." -- Lori Lemaris

"Wherever we find news, excitement, mystery and adventure, there, too, we
find the newspaper reporter. Always on the alert for something new, ready to
risk his very life for a scoop and finding adventure in every corner of the
globe." -- Stan Lee

"This is the life - juggling research for a couple dozen stories, some stale
doughnuts, some burnt coffee, deadlines looming." -- Betty Brant

"The newspaper used to be the foundation of this company. Now it's just a
division of the corporation - the unglamorous division." -- Perry White

"You're interested in getting the story, not being the story." -- Lois Lane

"He's a reporter. He's paid to ask questions. Don't attack the man for doing
his job." -- John Henry Irons

"A newshound is a newshound, 24 hours a day." -- Perry White

"He's adorable! Oh, no! The biggest news story in the history of the world -
not to mention physics - and I let him get away! Snap of it, Lois! Start
acting like a newspaperwoman!" -- Lois Lane

"The only way we're going end this downward spiral is to sell our way out -
one newspaper at a time! That means we need flashier front page photos!
Hotter headlines! Sexier lead stories!" -- J. Jonah Jameson

"Last one there's a rotten reporter!" -- Lois Lane

"Sorry, miss, either the governor calls me back or he gets to read about a
certain hotel in Paris in my column tomorrow. Thank you. I'll hold." -- Lois Lane

"Writing isn't a job skill. It's a hobby. How's your dusting?" -- Job Counselor to Brenda Starr

"That's the problem. Reporters aren't really qualified to do anything." -- Brenda Starr

"A reporter's job is to dig up stories. It's not his fault if what he digs up isn't very pretty."
-- Perry White

"A job as a reporter on a big newspaper will keep me in touch with those who
need my help. I'll wear glasses, pretend to be timid." -- Clark Kent

"I used to love working on a newspaper - yelling out, 'Tear down the front
page! Hold the bulldog edition for a replate!' Sometimes, when I had a
really good story, I'd go down and watch them set the type...rushing the
story to the public." -- Perry White

"We've become everyone's last source of information." -- Perry White

"Reporters, no matter what anyone else says, are human." -- Perry White

"You're a journalist, Jimmy, and a journalist is committed to the truth.
Sometimes people do get hurt when the truth comes out, but as a society,
we're usually better off when it happens." -- Lois Lane

"Anyone can point a camera at an event and describe what they're seeing. A
real reporter finds stories. A real reporter investigates. That's one thing
your precious TV cameras can't do. You can't do good investigative reporting
with a camera crew tagging along to get video. A real reporter just needs a
notebook. That and a newshound's curiosity." -- Perry White

"Lois is a good reporter, Jimmy. But like most of the good ones, she's never
better than when she's on the attack." -- Perry White

"I didn't become the publisher of one of the nation's largest-selling
newspapers by reporting what I saw on TV! We're reporters! Which means it's
up the Daily Bugle to get the story - the real story - not what some idiot
with makeup and blow-dried hair tell us is the story! It means we do
research, we separate fact from fiction!" -- J. Jonah Jameson

"What a newshound! One sniff and - bam - he's gone!" -- Jimmy Olsen

"When you have the guts to look death straight in the eye and still keep
clicking that shutter then, and only then, can you call yourself a photographer!" -- Perry White

"God, you're such a crybaby! How'd you even get a job with a high school
paper?" -- Lois Lane

"Sure, he seems to have everyone's best interests at heart, but as a
reporter, I never take anyone at face value. Especially if they can fly." -- Lois Lane

"Working for a newspaper can be demanding, Peter. It has its frustrations,
just like any job." -- Robbie Robertson

"Listen, you little weasel, if you don't come clean with me, I'm gonna come
down to city hall and punch your lights out!" -- Lois Lane

"There are three rules in journalism - believe none of what you hear, half
of what you see and everything you write." -- Lois Lane

"Chief, if I can't get the scoop Superman, no one can." -- Clark Kent

"I can only be a civilian for so long, Jimmy, then the reporter gene kicks
back in." -- Lois Lane

"Sometimes I think newspapers care more about profits than they do about people." -- Brenda Starr

"How many trees would be saved if we outlawed press releases?" -- Brenda Starr

"I don't need a makeover! I'm just a lowly print reporter!" -- Brenda Starr

"What kind of a nitwit would buy a newspaper these days? Is he buying a
horse and buggy business too?"-- Gabby (Brenda Starr)

"Who's got time for the business section when there are so many horoscopes
to read?"-- Gabby (Brenda Starr)

"Another 22-year-old reporter who will do twice the work at half the pay?"
-- Brenda Starr

"Sometimes I think everything about journalism was better when I was younger
- the clothes, the stories, the newsrooms." -- Brenda Starr

Your first deadline's tomorrow. I want to see 8,000 words. Printable words.
I still remember that essay you wrote when the Beast got elected. I do not
want to see the word 'fuck' typed eight thousand times again." -- Royce Smith

"Y'see, they say journalism is the art of controlling your environment but
that's all wrong. I can't control anything with this typewriter. All this is
is a gun. -- Spider Jerusalem

"You people don't know what the truth is! It's there just under their
bullshit but you never look! That's what I hate most about this fucking
city. Lies are news and the truth is obsolete!" -- Spider Jerusalem

"You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for
journalism." --Spider Jerusalem

"I can't keep live editors straight, much less dead ones." -- Napster (Brenda Starr)

"Assignment and assignation are almost the same word." -- Brenda Starr

"Ah, my pencil and notepad. Where would reporters be without their social
armor?" -- Brenda Starr

"Is this new generation of journalists ethically different from yours, Mr.
"Yes. They commit their crimes stone-cold sober." -- Reporter and editor (Brenda Starr)

"We're living in journalism's golden age, Starr. The comics are huge and
fun!" -- Hank (Brenda Starr)

"Paper dolls in the paper! At least editors have figured out what it takes
to get readers!" -- Brenda Starr

"Newspapers used to run paper dolls?"
Oui! In the comics! Back when newspapers were more like carnivals than
sermons." -- Physician and Gabby (Brenda Starr)

"If more journalists dressed with flair, maybe newspapers wouldn't be so
dull." -- Brenda Starr

Tom Henderson, Mild-Mannered Reporter.