Stripped down and flawed : demystifying journalism heroes and villains on film in the 1970s and 2010s
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Since the early days of film, the journalist has been a stalwart character, embodying either role of the hero or villain amid other archetypes like the crusader and the scandalmonger. As films and the profession of journalism have evolved, so have the depictions, reflecting both the profession's triumphs and its flaws. This study is a textual analysis of the change in depictions of journalists on film from the 1970s and the 2010s. The specific films it examines are Alan Pakula's All the President's Men (1976), Sydney Lumet's Network (1976), Tom McCarthy's Spotlight (2015) and Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler (2014). This study looks at the images of the reporter, editor and audience in films in two different eras to get a sense of how depictions have changed and what they say about journalism, as a profession in transition. It also offers an opportunity to understand what patterns emerge in the depictions of each era and what those films say about heroes and villains as they relate to journalism as a profession in both portrayals of real life journalists and fictionalized satires of journalism.
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