Good Topic: Gender, Journalism and the Movies

NEW PALTZ — Howard Good, a professor of journalism in the department of communication and media at the State University of New York at New Paltz will discuss his most recent book, Girl Reporter: Gender, Journalism and the Movies at a November 3 colloquium sponsored by the women’s studies program. 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. Short clips from such films as Big News (1929) and Absence of Malice (1982) will be shown.

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.

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.

The Colloquium will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Student Union Building, Room 402/408. For additional information, contact the women’s studies program at 257-2975.