‘Journalists shouldn’t be too quick to claim Clark Kent as their own’

Columbia Journalism Review

Why? Because as portrayed by Christopher Reeve in the 1978 “Superman,” Clark Kent “is a befuddled, timid nerd who elevates politeness to the realm of parody,” writes Michael Meyer. “He says things like ‘swell’ and is constantly pushing his glasses up on his nose or running into things. Socially clueless, he’s also completely devoid of wit despite the ‘snappy, punchy prose style’ that his editor-in-chief claims as a reason for hiring him.” Like many journalists, “Superman doesn’t feel that his talents are best used at a newspaper.” || Greg Mitchell, when he was Editor & Publisher in 2003, said in a Mediabistro Q&A that “I was probably one of the rare people who wanted to grow up to be Clark Kent instead of Superman.” || A 2003 New York magazine feature about Bill Hemmer as possibly becoming “the next news icon” claimed the anchor looks like Clark Kent and talks like Tony the Tiger.

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  • Anonymous

    Ummm, no. No journalis should want to be “Clark Kent.” He’s a LIAR. he lies every day he goes into work. He gives interviews — to himself. And pases it off as work and “scoops.” The ethics conundrum of a Clark Kent boggles the mind. It would blow the Jayson Blair stuff away.

    If I recall correctly, Kent became a journalist to be near “trouble.” (This was in the 1940s explantion.) And because newsrooms had police radios. Which is not much of a rationale in 2011. Superman would be pretty stupid to waste his time in a newsroom in 2011 — chasing b.s. about breaking news about ongoing trials and politics instead of crime in action.

  • Wendy Contos

    Well, what the heck. That was the way Clark Kent was portrayed when I was young, in the 1950s. It was that way in the Superman cartoons.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/QXHUG6B22T6CKA3CRQ4EG3UOCM Laurence

    I don’t believe there’s such a sharp dichotomy between “writing” skills at the typewriter or computer keyboard and the ability to indulge in witty and sharp-edged repartee when speaking.  If it’s the weekend, C-Span2 is presenting its usual fare of one author after another promoting his or her, sometimes their, books, and, assuming there was something in their various tomes that attracted a publisher, their presentation skills in an auditorium or bookstore are extremely variable.  (I often wonder about some C-Span tapings that DON’T APPEAR on the channel!) 

  • http://twitter.com/MSampo Chris ‘Sampo Cornell

    I always wanted to grow up to be Donald Hollinger (urbane man-about-town journalist boyfriend of the lead character on TV’s “That Girl).