Five Things Movies Get Wrong About How the News Works

In some of the popular movies about the news, we’re entertained by the zany delivery on the air, but what is even funnier is what goes on behind the scenes. While some professionals in the industry know how to make the job fun, it doesn’t usually go down that way. Presentation of the news is a highly professional business and most of the time, the people behind the scenes are more serious and behave differently because their jobs depend on it. Fictional newspapers also have a unique way of delivering the stories and it doesn’t even closely resemble how it’s done in the real world. Here are five things that movies get wrong about how the News works.

1. Priorities of the Headlines in major newspapers.

The front page is reserved for the most hard hitting stories that carry the most weight. These are usually about political topics or perhaps tragedies that have impacted people on a grand scale. If the President makes an important decision, or an earthquake hits a major city, these are the headlines that will be features on the front page. In movies, we see some of the most ridiculous headlines hitting the news of fictional papers. Looking back to the animation “101 Dalmations” we read about the 15 puppies being dognapped as it appears in the flash on this clip from the movie.

2. The myth of women Journalists being promiscuous with their interviewees

We’ve all seen the romance unfold in movies when a female journalist who interviews a hot guy has trouble focusing on the story. He original intention is to get the scoop and write the story, but somehow this all goes by the wayside as the drama of the film moves the two ahead into a series of thrilling scenes and adventures. Of course, they usually end up in bed together. This isn’t how it happens in the real world. Female journalists aren’t all vamps who are on the prowl for their next hot one night stand. They are serious professionals who have a job to do and a series of questions to ask the person they are interviewing. This doesn’t include, “do you want to go to bed with me tonight?” When you think about it, this depiction of women journalists is a bit on the insulting side. An example of this is seen in the movie “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days.”

3. Movies don’t accurately depict how a newsroom is run

Reflecting back to the early “Superman” films, When Clark Kent has a disagreement with the editor of the Daily Planet that there’s a situation that he wants to write about, and White tells him to drop the story and cover a sports event instead, this isn’t something that you would see at a real newspaper. These businesses have people who are dedicated to covering sports events and it is not a task that is interchangeable among all reporters. An editor would not pull a reporter to invade the territory of another because they would lack the expertise to do the job satisfactorily. Clark delivers a terrible sports page and there is far too much white space which would never be allowed in the final edit before printing.

4. Reporters can’t slip a fraudulent story into the headlines

In “Citizen Kane,” the main character is confronted by his boss with a newspaper that headlines fake news about war ships amassing at a strategic point. This is all the creation of the reporter but he gets it accomplished. In a real news room it would be proof read and edited out before it even made the presses.

5. Newspapers do not have unlimited budgets for Lifestyle columns

A good example of how this has been misrepresented in movies is “Crocodile Dundee.” It is extremely doubtful that a newspaper would send a reporter to the land down under to get a story about a bush ranger who is rumored to be a real bad ass. They wouldn’t pay for the flight over and back, along with the accommodations. Let’s not forget the private helicopter charter that would have really upped the bill. These make for good entertainment but this isn’t how it really works.

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