The Inky Path

  • Journalists appear in fiction in many guises and play many roles. Sometimes they provide central characters, often they intrude on the action, their attentions as unwelcome as they often are in real life. Scoop! gathers together these appearances under a variety of themes, some amusing, some trivial, some giving an insight into how the Press works and how it is seen to impact on our society. If you have favourite representations of journalists in European fiction or insights into ways they are portrayed, please email Scoop!

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Mine isn't too good. But he's a journalist in fiction.

Name: Clark Kent

Name of book: Superman: Birthright

Why: Because he's Superman in disguise. Easy!



Serge Cornelus

Okay, Philip. I'll pick up the gauntlet. Actually, I have already found a book which should suit your description. I had to think hard and deep and browse through my own "library", but I managed to come up with a book I enjoyed many years ago: De komst van Joachim Stiller/The coming of Joachim Stiller by Hubert Lampo ( ). A Belgian author, of course. It tells the story of journalist Freek Groenevelt who, one day in 1967, receives a letter dating from 1919, in which events that he witnessed one day before, are predicted. The editor of the magazine Freek writes for, also receives a letter in which is mentioned that Freek has an important mission ahead. The letter was sent by Joachim Stiller, of whom Freek discovers he's the author of a 16th-century novel about the end of times. I'll spare you the rest of the story. Actually, I'd even urge you to read it, some time. I don't know if the English translation is any good, but Lampo (°1920), who belongs to the literary movement of magic realism (quite a big influence of Carl Jung's archetypes), knows how to create a strange atmosphere and make you curious about how the strange events in the book end. Now... let me think who to tag. Check my blog and find out!

Serge Cornelus

Did I say 1967? 1957 would be more accurate. But who cares: read the book! ;-)

Stuart Bruce - Wolfstar

Three UK/European journalists in fiction

1) Tin Tin - the easiest by far and the only one I didn't have to think about. As a child I was a fan and even now as an adult I'm a bit of a Tin Tin fan. Wouldn't it be great to have a complete collection on my book shelf?

2) Rita Skeeter - the journalist who features in the Harry Potter novels.

3) Huntley Haverstock / Johny Jones in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. Not sure if it qualifies as UK/European as it is set in London and Holland but he is an American foreign correspondent

I'd also have liked to mention Damien Day in Drop the Dead Donkey, but that's TV and takes me over three.

Sam Smith

After scouring my mental list of literary material and discounting the many non-European/UK sources, I am going to proffer parliamentary buffoon Boris Johnson's portrayal of Barry White, literary hack and plot device/catalyst (72 Virgins).

I think it probably says a lot more about the honourable Mr Johnson's experience as a subject of the media, although as an editor/sometime journalist himself I am sure there is plenty of material in there that draws from his first-hand experiences at the sharp end of a pen.

My three tags:

Elizabeth 'CorporatePR' Albrycht
Mack 'beyond Madison Avenue' Collier
Karl '529' Binder

Elizabeth Albrycht

I like this idea of tagging people - but I think we need a new word. Tag = technorati these days. But anyways, I am wracking my brain for an example of journos in fiction. At this moment, what I have is the example of Dappa - the "libelist" in Neal Stephenson's System of the World. An early (fictional) example of a blogger perhaps?

Elizabeth Albrycht

Uh oh. I broke the rules. It has to be UK/European lit. Hmmm. I have to noodle on that.


Charles Arthur

I think journalists tend to make bad central characters in books except in the hands of great writers. (Even they struggle.)

As to how well this idea spread.. it was complete chance that I came across the post. Well, perhaps not - I have something set up in my newsreader to spot when my name gets mentioned online. (So vain..) But it has to be a blog I'm already subscribed to.

So.. it's an interesting idea, but it's hard to track the movement of any "idea" through the web unless they're all referring to the same URL, or linking to a family or URLs..

Andrea Weckerle


I've finally added a novel to the list -- George Gissing’s New Grub Street. Please tell me this qualifies and that someone else hasn't covered it already!

Jeff Risley

Phil, my contribution isn't worthy, because it doesn't follow the rules. However, it's from my heart:

Anything from Hunter S. Thompson.

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Scoop! Journalists in Fiction: The Scoop! meme

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