Occasionally, when journalists at a party or on social media ask one another our favorite newspaper (or journalism) movies, I will answer, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
Of course, no one thinks of “Liberty Valance” as a journalism movie. It’s a Western. But the whole movie is told through an interview between Ransom Stoddard and Charlie Hasbrouck, a reporter for the Shinbone Star. One of the key characters, Dutton Peabody, is editor and publisher of the Shinbone Star.
I thought about “Liberty” as I was writing an accompanying post about journalism scenes in three recently released movies. What I want to do here is share some favorite journalism scenes from non-journalism movies and ask you about some of your favorites.
Journalists all have our favorite journalism movies (or specifically newspaper movies). Off the top of my head, my favorite non-fiction journalism movie is “All the President’s Men” and “Deadline USA” is my favorite fiction journalism movie. But you might remind me of one I’m forgetting or convince me of another. Or in a different mood I might pick another on my own.
I won’t try to compile my favorite journalism movies or asking you to submit yours. If you’re interested in such a list, check out those compiled by Dan Barry, Robert Feder, Time magazine and John Greco.
What I’m interested in here is movies like “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Despite its journalism scenes, it’s no more a journalism movie than it’s a law movie (Stoddard is a lawyer) or a politics movie (he later becomes a senator, and a key scene takes place at a political convention) or a restaurant movie (much of the action takes place in or right outside the restaurant run by Peter and Nora Ericson and Valance derides Stoddard as a “hash slinger” for working in the restaurant). It’s a Western. (more…)