Whether it's the rule-defying lifer, the sharp-witted female newshound, or the irascible editor in chief, journalists 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, Matthew C. Ehrlich and Joe Saltzman survey how popular media has depicted the profession across time. Their 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, Heroes and Scoundrels reveals how portrayals of journalism's relationship to history, professionalism, power, image, and war influence our thinking and the very practice of democracy.
"A perceptive study of an enduring and tantalizing question: What do they think of us? Ehrlich and Saltzman craft a persuasive, sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious montage of the omnipresence of journalists in popular culture. But the book does more than that. The authors work also tells us a great deal about the powerful and defining role of popular culture itself."
--Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power
"Ultimately, anyone who studies media portrayals or public perceptions of journalists would benefit greatly from reading this book and incorporating it into their teaching and research."--Journalism and Mass Communication Educator
"Authors Matthew C. Ehrlich and Joe Saltzman have done a painstakingly thorough job of marshaling, assembling, organizing, and setting down in print the vast amount of material that makes up our popular culture's representation of journalism and the men and women who commit it. . . . The subject matter holds plenty of interest for readers drawn to the popular media, and that's a lot of us; that's why it's cold the popular media."--The Santa Fe New Mexican
"Authors Matthew Ehrlich and Joe Saltzman make a convincing case that fictional journalists are both ubiquitous and significant in pop culture-- in plays, movies, television, novels, short stories, comic strips, graphic novels, video games, and so on… With scores of examples and an extensive appendix of media sources, Heroes and Scoundrels is a terrific resource for courses in mass communication and society, contemporary issues in journalism, journalism ethics, media history, and related courses."--Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly