Good’s Fifth Book Focuses on Female Reporters

NEW PALTZ — -SUNY New Paltz Professor Howard Good’s fifth book, Girl Reporter: Gender, Journalism, and the Movies, has been published by Scarecrow Press. Using Torchy Blane, the hero of nine Warner Brothers films from the 1930s, as the centerpiece, this cultural study examines Hollywood’s infatuation with the female reporter.

Good, who has taught journalism at SUNY New Paltz since 1985, argues in his book that despite illusions of equality between male and female reporters on film, many portrayals of female reporters reinforce traditional gender roles. He draws on a variety of cultural materials to support his arguments, including theater posters, press books, legal documents, comic strips, and film reviews.

In addition to Torchy Blane, Good discusses female film reporters played by Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, and other stars from the 1930s through the 1990s. He also compares the female reporter on screen with her counterpart in the real world, raising questions about ethics and gender relations in journalism that Hollywood films have not yet been able to resolve satisfactorily.

Good’s previous books are Acquainted With the Night: The Image of Journalists in American Fiction, 1890-1930; Outcasts: The Image of Journalists in Contemporary Film; The Journalist as Autobiographer; and Diamonds in the Dark: America, Baseball and the Movies. His book in progress, The Drunken Journalist: The Biography of a Film Stereotype, will be published by Scarecrow Press.

Good, who has a bachelor’s degree from Bard College, a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, has contributed scholarly essays to several collections, including American Literary Journalists, 1945-1995, and A Sourcebook on American Literary Journalism. His articles have appeared in Journalism Monographs, Journalism Quarterly, Journalism Educator, American Journalism, Quill, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, Teachers Magazine, and American School Board Journal.

Good lives in Highland with his wife, Barbara, and their four children. He is a member of the Board of Education in the Highland Central School District.