Today's harbinger for the end of print journalism: After decades as a reporter at Metropolis newspaper the Daily Planet, Superman (who writes under the byline of alter ego Clark Kent), is quitting his gig after a "Jerry Maguire moment" in which he questions the state of modern journalism. In the new comic book, which hits stores on Wednesday, the Kryptonian complains that newspapers have given up covering actual news in favor of entertainment, reports real-life newspaper USA Today. But Superman isn't giving up on journalism altogether; he's simply adjusting to the real-world changes in the media landscape. "He is more likely to start the next Huffington Post or the next Drudge Report than he is to go find someone else to get assignments or draw a paycheck from," says comics writer Scott Lobdell. How do journalists feel about their most famous fictional counterpart giving up his longtime print journalism gig? Here, four reactions:
1. Rest in peace, print journalism
"If there's one person we thought could handle the changing news industry, it's Superman," says Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke at the New York Observer. "Print may be dying, but if even the Man of Steel can't hack it, well, what hope is there for the rest of us?" Clark Kent can use his professional skills and superpowers to "bring truth and justice to the world or whatever," but he better not "make a Kickstarter campaign for his new venture," because there's no way his former journalistic allies would donate to it.
2. Superman is fictional, but he inspired real journalists
"For some now in journalism, the stereotypical typewriter-pounding newsroom scenes in the 1978 big-screen adaptation Superman, inhaled at such a young age, were a gateway drug for a life in newsprint," says Jeff Gray at The Daily Globe and Mail. As a result, "the surprise departure of the Reporter of Steel for a career as a blogger clearly has some real mild-mannered reporters feeling slightly more insecure about the future of newspapers than usual."
3. Blogging might be taking over journalism, but it isn't heroic
Superman's new blog may be more contemporary, but it doesn't exactly sound like compelling reading, says Ian Chant at Geekosystem. "Will the world now be imperiled as the last son of Krypton slaves over SEO and tries to figure out why his CMS is doing wonky things to the captions on all of his slideshows instead of fighting giant robots? Probably not. Because trust me, no one wants to read a comic book about a day in the life of a blogger."
4. Clark won't leave print behind for long
"Writers have tried to move Kent into new media before," says Molly Driscoll at The Christian Science Monitor, and he has never resisted the lure of his old gig at Daily Planet for long. In a 1971 plotline, Clark Kent became an anchor for a nightly news channel; in a later storyline, "Superman nemesis Lex Luthor bought the Planet, fired almost everyone and created Lexcom, a news website." We'll see if the Man of Steel can resist the nostalgia of ink of paper.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week