Hemingway & Gellhorn, and The Newsroom

Things are looking up in the “recent examples” department for my fall course on the portrayal of journalists in popular culture.

HBO’s famous-writers docudrama about Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway reminds me a bit of United Press’s “Soldiers of the Press” radio series from the 1940s, which had actors in a studio dramatizing the lives of war correspondents while the reporters were still off on the battle-fronts.

Since Memorial Day I’ve been working my way through a batch of those World War II episodes over at jheroes: Newspaper Heroes on the Air, learning a little history, thinking about the blurred boundaries between reporting and propaganda, and puzzling through a mystery or two along the way.

I hope that when the fall semester starts, students will be able to get at the HBO Hemingway & Gellhorn film to do the same. Maybe I can convince one or two in my Portrayal of the Journalist in Popular Culture course to do research projects drawing some comparisons between docudrama and history, film and radio, or between an HBO movie and the new HBO series, The Newsroom.

Thanks to HBO for putting the full first episode on YouTube for students (and faculty) who don’t have HBO in their back-to-school budgets! Alas, HBO only kept it there temporarily… This was the link.

HBO now (August) provides a The Newsroom website with supplementary information and synopses of episodes.

I started this blog post to gradually accumulate links to reviews and reflections on the two HBO offerings. Some I’ll just tag in my bookmark collection at http://delicious.com/bstepno

Updated Aug. 30, 2012

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

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Posted in biography, History, jheroes, Journalism, popular culture, students, Television

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