Good Film Hunting: Top five mass media movies

Maybe you’ll write a hard-hitting expose! Or maybe you’ll take the next Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. If journalism isn’t your bag, then maybe you’ll take up public affairs or communications for some big company or maybe a nonprofit close to your heart. There are a lot of different avenues mass media majors can go down and, while they might not end up being as illustrious as some would like to think, you can always dream. Here are several movies to keep that dream (or, in some cases, nightmare) alive.

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
And this is what I meant by nightmare. Beating out Scream is the sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher. Instead of focusing on a group of teens like its predecessor, the second Chainsaw Massacre features Stretch, a radio jockey who ends up hearing the slaughter of two boys at the hands of Leatherface during a call. It’s Stretch’s sense of adventure—only so much excitement can come from covering chili cook-offs—that leads her to keep the call on tape and eventually use it to draw the killers out of hiding and, unfortunately, toward her.

2. Spotlight (2015)
Spotlight, which recently won the Oscar for Best Picture, follows reporters at the Boston Globe who investigated cases of molestation of boys by Catholic priests and the cover up by the Catholic Church. The movie, which is based off true events and stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, makes for a perfect example of investigative journalism.

3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
If chainsaws and movies about investigative journalism aren’t really your speed, then Anchorman may be a good choice instead. The movie, which is full of quotable material, follows anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his team of sports, weather, and field reporters. The movie, which takes place in the 70s, does an excellent job of poking fun at the news world and providing laughs while it does it.

4. Thank You for Smoking (2005)
Alright, alright, we’ll make the public relations-oriented people happy and stick this sucker on the list. In Thank You for Smoking, the power of public relations, or spinning things, really shines as Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a charismatic lobbyist for big tobacco who makes smoking sound like the best thing ever. The movie does a good job of calling the ethics of public relations into question and it depicts issues with reporters and other members of the media too.

5. Zodiac (2007)
Considering the recent, albeit ridiculous, allegations against Ted Cruz, it’s only right that Zodiac is on this list. In the film, which takes place in the 1970s, Jake Gyllenhaal is featured as Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who becomes obsessed with the case of the Zodiac Killer. The interest in the killer, who originally sent his coded messages to the newspaper, soon takes its toll on both Graysmith and reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr.) and causes destruction in both their professional and personal lives. The film is dark, but if Anchorman depicts the 70s just a bit too brightly for your liking, this is a good flick to choose for your next night in.

Marysa Storm

Marysa is a senior mass media student at MSU and proof that you truly can survive on just Scooby-Doo fruit snacks. You can find her on Twitter (@MarysaStorm) or email her at

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