Clark Kent quits newspaper job in latest Superman comic
(CNN) — Add Superman to the list of reporters leaving the newspaper business behind.
In the comic book series’ latest issue, which went on sale Wednesday, an outraged Clark Kent quits his job at The Daily Planet after his boss berates him.
“I was taught to believe you could use words to change the course of rivers — that even the darkest secrets would fall under the harsh light of the sun,” the superhero’s alter ego says in a newsroom outburst. “But facts have been replaced by opinions. Information has been replaced by entertainment. Reporters have become stenographers. I can’t be the only one who’s sick of what passes for the news today.”
In Wednesday’s issue, Kent tells his editor he’s been a journalist for barely five years.
But for decades, his job as a reporter at The Daily Planet has been a mainstay of Superman’s story.
Word of the superhero’s career move drew attention from media critics and others who’ve watched the newspaper industry’s struggles.
“It seems very overly dramatic,” said Erica Smith, a former newspaper employee who’s tracked U.S. newspaper industry layoffs and buyouts on her Paper Cuts blog since 2007. “It doesn’t seem to me to fit either the industry or the character.”
If he’d been laid off or taken a buyout, like more than 2,000 others in the U.S. newspaper industry this year, “it would have been a little bit more realistic,” Smith said with a laugh.
The proportion of Americans who read news on a printed page is declining, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The center said in a September study that just 23% of those surveyed said they read a print newspaper the previous day — an 18 percentage point decrease over the past decade.
But online and digital readership is growing, the study said.
And it may be that the Man of Steel, when he’s not flying faster than a speeding bullet or leaping tall buildings in a single bound, is taking note.
A spokesman for DC Entertainment, which is also owned by CNN’s parent company Time Warner, said the comic book’s writer was not available for comment.
In an interview with USA Today this week, writer Scott Lobdell said Kent is much more likely to start his own blog than he is to search for new work in the news business.
“I don’t think he’s going to be filling out an application anywhere,” Lobdell said. “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.”