The mission of the Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture, a project of The Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg, is to investigate and analyze, through research and publication, the conflicting images of the journalist in film, television, radio, fiction, commercials, cartoons, comic books, music, art, demonstrating their impact on the American public's perception of newsgatherers.
All professions suffer, or are helped by, how they are portrayed in the mass media. TV does the most good, or most damage, to a lot of jobs. I expect my doctors to all be tortured geniuses like House. I'd love to see someone do a careful analysis of popular presentations of "the journalist" and track that with attitudes the public has about journalists to see if there is any correlation, any effect on what people know about news gatherers. My hunch? No relationship at all, but it'd be fun to find out.