Discovering the Relevance of Words
This phrase is the extent of my journalistic training. I think I first heard it said by a teacher when I was in the fifth grade.
For an instant I thought I could be a plucky boy reporter. Like Jimmy Olsen.
Then, the more I thought about it, the less sure I was that Jimmy Olsen was either boy or reporter. In the movies he was easily in his twenties and I never saw him do anything but get coffee and squeal for help from Superman.* Also instrumental in disillusioning me from the idea of being a journalist is the fact that pretty much the whole job is talking to people. I hate talking to people.
I’m not sure why I thought about this today, but it I wonder what will happen to the archetype of the intrepid reporter with the sad reality of the demise of the newspaper. As news outlets become more intangible and newspapers are replaced by websites it seems like the image of the harried newsman is becoming as old-fashioned as the hard-boiled detective.
Detective. Now there’s an archetype to think about. Every show on TV now seems to be about a detective, but not JUST a detective. They always seem to have some sort of extra talent. They’re psychic or autistic or fake psychic or they talk to ghosts or go to high school or chase vampires. There’s always a twist. They can’t just solve crimes, they have to have X Men skills too. Maybe the journalist character will follow suit? It’s interesting to think about.
What will become of the five W’s?**
Is the ink-stained reporter gone from our stories, or just changed? Or is it as it always was, and I’m just wrong? All of these are possible.
*Interesting side note, in an early television commercial for Corn Flakes showed Superman eating the delicious cereal with Jimmy Olsen, since it was thought that audiences wouldn’t be able to handle the implications of Superman eating breakfast with Lois Lane. True story.
**I call it the five W’s, since I only added the How at the end because I’m a quarter Cherokee… That’s a terrible joke, and I apologize. Kind of.