Joe Saltzman, journalism professor and director of The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture, discussed extensively how investigative reporters are portrayed in movies on National Public Radio's "On the Media" on Aug. 15.
"Investigative reporters are the perfect hero in the movies because they really are surrogates for the moviegoer," Saltzman said. "They ask the questions the moviegoer wants to know about. They get the information the moviegoer wants to find out. They give you great narrative. They give you great exposition. They're the perfect movie hero, and that’s why I think we've had so many films featuring investigative reporters."
Moderator Brooke Gladstone asked Saltzman about the way investigative reporters are portrayed in movies such as Call Northside 777, All the President’s Men and Capricorn One.
"There’s a wonderful sequence in "All the President’s Men" where the reporters Woodward and Bernstein, played by (Robert) Redford and Dustin Hoffman, are in the Library of Congress trying to get records of what materials the White House checked out," Saltzman said. "They're looking through pieces of paper. They're trying to find the story. And what the photographer does, the cameraman does, is zoom out over their heads, and to show the passage of time they keep dissolving until we get higher and higher and higher. And I love that shot, because in a very cinematic way it shows the very difficult job most investigative reporters do, which is in libraries and public hall - of public records. And this one scene really sums up the hard work investigative reporters do that you very seldom see in the movies."