1st Edition

Spotlight on Journalism and Popular Heroism The Rise from Tabloid Stars to Digital Activists

By Caryn Coatney Copyright 2025
    184 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers fresh insights into the central role of journalism in shaping popular memories of community heroism in times of crisis. Further, it challenges familiar assumptions about Hollywood celebrity reporting and shows journalists’ active role in connecting popular culture icons with local communities.


    This book showcases fresh insights into how audiences collaborated and contributed to these widespread stories. The chapters included show how His Girl Friday, a Hollywood classic about tabloid newsroom stars, became a must-see movie for journalists, inspiring hundreds to choose the profession. Other appearances include Peter Fleming (James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s brother) and Norman Rockwell who helped create heroic characters in the news that became global symbols of community leadership. This offers a look at digital news activists who recreated heroic icons in social media to champion human rights in the Middle East. The historical and contemporary case studies offer insights into larger news trends that have contributed to the enduring popularity of these diverse, heroic identities in journalism.


    Presenting unique views of community, collaborative and interactive journalism, this book will be a valuable resource to students and scholars of journalism, communication, media and political history, as well as professionals already operating within the field of journalism.

    1: Popular Journalism and Community Ideals  2: The Journalist as Hero  3: The Rise of Collaborative, Community Journalism  4: Heroic Icons from Magazines to Memes  5: A Diversity Turn in Celebrity Reporting  6: Visual Reporting and Digital Journalism as a Community Change Agent


    Caryn Coatney is a Journalism Lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland. She has been an investigative journalist in Australia and internationally, working in many communication fields extensively. Her award-winning journalism research includes an Australian Prime Ministers Centre Fellowship and peer-reviewed, academic publications. She has a PhD (Journalism), MA (Journalism - Coursework/Research) and BA with Honours in English Literature and History.