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.
“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.
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:
- “The Front Page” (1931): Jan. 20
- “It Happened One Night” (1934 Academy Award winner): Jan. 27
- “Foreign Correspondent” (1940): Feb. 3
- “Citizen Kane” (1941: Feb. 10
- “Ace in the Hole” (1951): Feb. 17
- “All the President’s Men” (1976): Feb. 24
- “Under Fire” (1983): March 3
- “Absence of Malice” (1981): March 10
- “Reds” (1981): March 17
- “Killing Fields” (1984): March 24
- “Broadcast News” (1987): April 7
- “The Insider” (1999): April 14
- “Good Night and Good Luck” (2005): April 21
- “Frost/Nixon” (2008): April 28
For more information about the class, contact Professor Winfield.
Updated: May 20, 2020