Each time I see a journalist in a movie or TV show, I always nudge my husband and say something like, “See? Another journalist! This movie wouldn’t be the same without a journalist. Do people even know how important journalists are in their movies and shows? My profession can’t go away!”
I started a mental list of journalists in movies and on TV. Then when the newsroom computers were on the fritz, I solicited the help of my awesome co-workers and actually wrote down a list. They came up with tons of films and shows I had forgotten or hadn’t even heard of.
So here you go, an unofficial list of journalism on the big screen and the small screen. I hope you enjoy. Please add any omissions in the comments, and I’ll update the post and give you credit.
UPDATE, OCT. 13: I’ve updated the lists with suggestions from my current and former coworkers. You guys rock!
UPDATE, OCT. 17: More listings added, thanks to the suggestion of a reader named “acupoftea.”
First, here are the movies and TV shows that featured print journalism — newspapers or magazines — in a key role. (And yes, I’m counting fashion magazines as journalism. I’m in a generous mood.)
- The Wire (Season 5) — All about a fictionalized version of The Baltimore Sun.
- Marley and Me — The dog owners are journalists.
- Perfect Strangers — Larry and Balki work at the Chicago Chronicle, not as journalists, but I’m still counting it.
- Never Been Kissed — Perhaps the most unrealistic newspaper movie ever, but still cute.
- Newsies — A Disney musical about an 1899 newspaper strike, featuring a young Christian Bale.
- All the President’s Men — Classic, inspirational film about The Washington Post reporters who cracked Watergate.
- Citizen Kane — A classic that I haven’t seen.
- Superman — Clark Kent and Lois Lane work at the Daily Planet, of course.
- Spiderman — Peter Parker is a photographer.
- Batman — In the Michael Keaton version, Kim Basinger’s character is a newspaper reporter.
- Sleepless in Seattle — Meg Ryan is a Baltimore Sun reporter, and as a media-world bonus, they are connected through talk radio.
- Shattered Glass — I wish they didn’t make movies about frauds.
- Beverly Hills, 90210 — Not only did Andrea and Brandon work on the school newspaper, Brandon worked at a newspaper after graduation.
- Just One of the Guys — Girl reporter dresses as a boy.
- State of Play — Russell Crowe as a journalist.
- The Ring — Naomi Watts is a journalist.
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — Reporter investigates a murder in the south.
- Adaptation — Meryl Streep’s character (the author of “The Orchid Thief”) is a writer for the New Yorker.
- The Paper — I forgot I had seen this one. Need to Netflix it.
- His Girl Friday — They’ve been making movies about great female journalists since 1940!
- Absence of Malice — Sally Field as a Miami newspaper reporter.
- Philadelphia Story — Another film from 1940.
- Almost Famous — On the road as a writer for Rolling Stone.
- Zoolander — Supposedly a fashion magazine is involved in this movie I’ve never seen.
- How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — The entire premise of the movie rests on Kate Hudson’s job writing for a Composure magazine.
- Ugly Betty — TV show set at a fashion magazine.
- Devil Wears Prada — More from the world of fashion magazines.
- Zodiac — The San Francisco Chronicle and a serial killer. Another one I forgot I had seen.
- My Boys — Recently cancelled TV show all about a woman sports columnist in Chicago.
- Sweet Smell of Success — I hadn’t heard of this until Tony Curtis died and it was mentioned.
- Full Metal Jacket — Pvt. Joker works for Stars and Stripes. (Thanks to Joshua McKerrow.)
- The Front Page — I didn’t know about this until I looked up Switching Channels.
- It Happened One Night — With Clark Gable as a “rougish reporter,” according to Wikipedia. (Thanks to Vanessa Franko.)
- 13 Going on 30 — Jennifer Garner works at a magazine. I didn’t know that because I’ve never seen the whole movie through. (Vanessa scores again!)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — Written by the crazy Hunter S. Thompson. (Another suggestion from Vanessa.)
- Hot Tub Time Machine — Vanessa says a music reporter is involved.
- Letters to Juliet — Our young heroine is a fact-checker for the New Yorker.
- The Bounty Hunter — Jennifer Aniston is an “investigative reporter.”
- The Holiday — Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, works at The Daily Telegraph in London. This is a cute little movie.
Now is the surprisingly shorter list of movies and TV shows featuring broadcast journalism — TV or radio.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — The heroes in the half-shell are friends with April, a TV reporter. (Turtle power!)
- The Network — Another one to add to my Netflix queue.
- Good Night, and Good Luck — As inspiring as All the President’s Men.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show — You go, girl. Toss that hat.
- Murphy Brown — Do you remember the name of the show she worked for? It was called “FYI.”
- Bridget Jones’s Diary — She has a job in TV.
- Full House — Danny Tanner is a host on “Wake Up, San Francisco.”
- Anchorman — “Stay classy, San Diego.”
- NewsRadio — With the late, great Phil Hartman.
- WKRP in Cincinnati — Les Nessman was the news guy.
- Switching Channels — A 1980s remake of His Girl Friday and The Front Page. (Thanks to Vanessa Franko.)
- Broadcast News — Starring Holly Hunter. (Thanks to Shanteé Woodards, who had to watch this in journalism school.)
- Up Close & Personal — Another journalism film with All The President’s Men star Robert Redford. (More kudos to Shanteé Woodards, and also to Ellen Scarano.)
- The Ugly Truth — Katherine Heigl is a morning show producer. (Thanks to Vanessa Franko, again!)
- Knocked Up — Again, with Katherine Heigl, this time she works for an entertainment TV show, which would only be considered journalism on my most generous day.
- All About Steve — In this Sandra Bullock train wreck (score of 17 on Metacritic), she’s after Bradley Cooper, who plays a TV cameraman. And Bullock’s character is apparently a crossword puzzle writer for the Sacramento Herald.