Laurence Fishburne will become the first black actor to play Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White (ironic?) in the new “Man of Steel,” a move in which art definitely doesn’t imitate life.
The number of African-American journalists in mainstream media is at an all time-low, and there are few, if any, black Perry Whites among the nations major daily newspapers.
Garry D. Howard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was the last remaining African American editor, overseeing the sports section of a mainstream daily newspaper, according to The Maynard Institute, which tracks African Americans in the media.
Howard left in December to become editor-in-chief of the weekly Sporting News, a national newspaper, according to the institute.
Black journalists have been in decline across-the-board for most of the decade. Their numbers peaked at 5.5% of all newsroom jobs in 2006, but has fallen 34% since then, according to 2010 survey by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
As of 2010, African Americans, who nationally make up 15 percent of the population, hold 4.68 percent of US newspaper newsroom jobs.
Kathy Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, told the Columbia Journalism Review the numbers “are devastating.”
A spokeswoman for the ASNE said there are black editors-in-chief at daily newspapers, but did not know how many.
African Americans held less than one percent of newsroom jobs in 1968, when the National Commission on Civil Disorders declared the the nation was moving toward two societies, one white, the other black.
Lois Lane’s and Clark Kent’s boss will be an exception at least in movieland, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The part has always gone to whites in the past.
Jackie Cooper played White in the Christopher Reeve-era Superman films of the 1970s, and Frank Langella played the part in “Superman Returns” in 2006, according to the magazine.
The new picture, produced by Christopher Nolan and directed by Zack Snyder, stars Henry Cavill as Clark/Superman, Amy Adams as Lois, and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Clark’s earthly parents.
The film will hit theaters on June 14, 2013. By then, likely no black journalists may be working on mainstream dailies if trends continue. Hello, 1968.