Is Journalism Portrayed Well In Movies?

When Will Hollywood Portray Journalists Accurately?

Linnea Sundquist and Ashley Drury

Journalism is a big part of society, an important part of how the world works. You find out important information on a wide variety of topics, things you would not have known if not for news sources. Despite journalism being an important resource that many appreciate, within films, journalism can be painted in a bad light.

Oftentimes in films you see journalists painted as the bad guy determined to ruin the lives of the protagonist. Even in some media such as Princess Diaries Franchise, where the main protagonist Amelia is constantly battling journalists writing hateful and untrue stories about her in the papers. Hollywood has always painted a “picture” of the stereotypical journalist only trying to get something out of it for them. This has made people believe that journalists only try to get information to release the next big story, rather than considering the harm this could do to the subject. 


However, some films do a better job of portraying journalism in the way it should be. Films such as Spotlight show the real and true representation of journalists. Spotlight is about a group of journalists trying to investigate the cases of child sex abuse by Catholic priests. Not only does this movie show how journalism can truly impact and help people’s lives, but it also shows how dedicated these people are to getting to the bottom of this heinous crime. Movies like these, in our opinions, shine a light on how journalism isn’t as terrible as other films make out to be.


While it does make sense for Hollywood to have this stereotype, due to some of the journalists in past decades, it shouldn’t necessarily mean that this negative stereotype is the only coverage of journalism today. This is definitely one of the sad things about movies like Spotlight, as it usually takes the protagonist being a journalist themselves to show the positive side of it in film.


I would love to see more positive sides of journalism in movies, but specifically I would like to see more peoples stories being released to the public. For example in Netflix’s hit t.v. show The Crown, shows Princess Diana getting help from a journalist to bring to light how she is being negatively treated by the royal family. This in my opinion is what makes a true journalist because they uplift voices and stories, rather than switch around details and show the interviewee in a bad light. 


Journalism is one of the most influential pieces of media that we have today, and seeing films and t.v. shows such as The Crown and Spotlight really show how journalists use their writing to share stories. Other pieces of media such as The Help also show writers trying to dig deeper to help have peoples stories shared. Not only is this film great to watch and entertaining, but the movie shows Skeeter, a developing writer, interviewing black women on their experience on raisng white children. This movie is personally one of my favorites because our main protagonist in this story effectively uses her privilege to write stories that typically go unnoticed. 


Overall journalism within films continues to get a bad reputation and is usually represented as a “bad guy” seeking to ruin peoples lives for the sake of money. Hollywood needs to focus more on the positive sides rather than the negatives. We hope that better representation comes in the future.