New Class Looks at Journalism through a Camera Lens

Classic Films Look at Hollywood Portrayal of Journalism

Columbia, Mo. (Jan. 28, 2011) — The Missouri School of Journalism is offering a new course that brings feature films and the Hollywood portrayal of journalism to the classroom.

“The purpose is to understand particular values, issues and practices that have remained constant in some 77 years of Hollywood depictions of journalism,” Winfield said.

The “Film Images of Journalism in American Culture” course features a weekly film every Thursday evening that portrays American journalism. University of Missouri Curators’ Professor Betty Winfield is the course instructor.

Betty Houchin Winfield
Betty Houchin Winfield

“The purpose is to understand particular values, issues and practices that have remained constant in some 77 years of Hollywood depictions of journalism,” Winfield said. “The fact that most of these films were either Academy Award winners or nominees points out that they resonated at that particular time.”

Graduate and undergraduate students can take the course as a journalism elective for one-credit hour. The course is also open and free to the MU and Columbia communities.

Sandy Davidson
Sandy Davidson
Tim P. Vos
Tim P. Vos

The first session on Jan. 20 featured a showing of the 1931 classic “The Front Page.” Journalism studies professors Tim Vos and Sandy Davidson discussed the film with Winfield before opening the discussion to the audience.

Vos said the discussion focused on the film’s portrayal of the mythic themes of early 20th-century journalism. Specifically, it shows how the savvy, streetwise journalist understands the world in a way established authorities could not.

“These films give students a way of stepping outside of the journalism world to consider how others see us,” Vos said. “I think that helps students develop a critical eye for journalism. It forces them to reflect on the power and problems of journalism. It enlivens their imaginations about the future of the field.”

The film schedule for the semester:

For more information about the class, contact Professor Winfield.

Updated: May 20, 2020

Related Stories