Movies portray unethical journalists

Hollywood has portrayed journalists as unethical people in movies for many years now. This negative image of journalists is constantly shown to the public through film. The journalist characters tend to be people who engage in unethical behavior in order to write great stories.

Examples of Films

One example of a film that portrays the idea of an unethical journalist is “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” This movie contains a female character named Andie who is a journalist. Andie creates a dishonest relationship with a man in order to get a great article for her magazine.

Trailer of “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”
Found on

Another example is the movie “27 Dresses.” In this film, a newspaper journalist named Kevin starts to hang around a woman named Jane because he finds her life interesting. He deceives Jane and uses her life story as a newspaper article so that he can get promoted.

Trailer of “27 Dresses”
Found on

How Do People View Journalists Compared to Hollywood’s Portrayal?

“A new 2013 Gallup poll shows people don’t have much confidence in newspaper and TV reporters when it comes to being honest and ethical,” Catherine Taibi of The Huffington Post said. “In a survey taken of more than 1,000 adults in the U.S., only 20 percent rated TV reporters ‘high’ or ‘very high’ for honesty and ethical standards…”

Photo of a journalist Found on

Photo of a journalist working on her story
Found on

The Huffington Post believes that people have very little trust in the ethics of journalists. According to The New York Times, this popular idea of unethical journalism is then reinforced in Hollywood films.

How Do Journalists Feel About Unethical Reporting?

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, “Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.”

The Society of Professional Journalists says that journalists write accurate and interesting stories while maintaining high ethical standards.

The Ethics Advice Line for Journalists believes in honest reporting and does not condone unethical behavior despite what the movies may portray.

For more information on journalism ethics please visit UW-Madison’s journalism page.

Emily Raasch

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