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Lule, Jack 1954-

Lule, Jack 1954-


Born September 10, 1954, in Huntington, NY; son of John F. (an attorney) and Mary (a nurse) Lule; married Gregorie Lalor, June 4, 1988; children: John, Nicholas, Joseph. Education: State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1976; Temple University, M.J., 1980; University of Georgia, Ph.D., 1987.


Office—Department of Journalism and Communication, Lehigh University, 33 Coppee Dr., Bethlehem, PA 18015; fax: 610-758-6198. E-mail—[email protected]


Worked as bartender and truck driver, 1976-79; Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, contributing writer, 1979-84; University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, assistant professor of communication, 1987-90; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, professor of journalism and communication, 1990-93, department chair, 1993-2000, Joseph B. McFadden Distinguished Professor of Journalism, 2004—, director of globalization and social change initiative, 2006—. Member of editorial board, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 1994—.


International Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, National Communication Association, Society of Professional Journalists.


James E. Murphy Awards, Qualitative Studies Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 1988, 1994, and 1996; Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, Lehigh University.


Daily News, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism, Guilford Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Handbook for Third World Journalists, edited by Al Hester, Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research (Athens, GA), 1985; Media Coverage of Terrorism: Methods of Diffusion, edited by A. Odasuo Alali and Kenoye Kelvin Eke, Sage Publications (Beverly Hills, CA), 1991; In the Camera's Eye: News Coverage of Terrorist Events, edited by Yonah Alexander and Robert Picard, Brassey-Macmillan (New York, NY), 1991; and Structured Inequality in the United States: Discussions on the Continuing Significance of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, edited by Adalberto Aguirre and David V. Baker, Prentice-Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2000. Contributor of more than fifty articles and essays to journals, including Journal of Communication Inquiry, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Media Ethics, Mass Communications Review, Journal of Popular Culture, American Journalism, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Associate editor, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 2004—.


In his book Daily News, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism, Jack Lule examines how seven archetypal figures—the good mother, the victim, the scapegoat, the hero, the trickster, the other world, and the flood—appear again and again in modern news stories. He discusses each of these archetypes through an examination of New York Times articles around one specific person or event. The good mother archetype is discussed through the New York Times's coverage of Mother Teresa, the scapegoat through coverage of Black Panther Huey Newton's untimely death. Hurricane Mitch is the flood. When such archetypes make their way into the "objective" stories of the news, they can help to satisfy a deep human need for representations of shared values, but they can also distort the factual accuracy of the news. For example, in fitting Mother Teresa into the good mother mold, reporters ignored the impact that her conservative Catholic doctrine had in perpetuating overpopulation and the subjugation of women in India. Despite this loss of accuracy in news reports, Lule does not necessarily see the presence of archetypes in the news as a bad thing. The news business is facing a crisis of legitimacy among many Americans, who are discontented with its sensationalism, melodrama, and focus on celebrity scandals. By focusing more on the mythic function of news, Lule claims, journalists may be able to satisfy the public's desire for a good story while still reporting on weighty, worthwhile topics.

Lule once told CA: "Are there links between ancient myths and the news stories of today? Throughout much of my work, I demonstrate that news stories of today are the modern version of humankind's eternal stories. Our news stories are drawn from age-old tales and ageless archetypes that have chastened, challenged, entertained, and entranced people since the beginning of time.

"Library shelves are filled with books that bemoan the current state of the news. Most of these books, however, treat news as information for an information society. News, for them, is reports, details, and data about politics, products, crime, celebrities, technology, sports, and stocks. In my writings, I remind the reader that news comes to us as a story and that journalists are part of a long storytelling tradition that includes fleet-footed messengers, minstrels, troubadours, carriers, couriers, criers, poets, chief priests, missionaries, rabbis, and medicine men.

"I propose a different model for news, a model founded on the story forms and storytellers of the past. I argue that the daily news is the primary vehicle for myth in our time. News, of all things, has become heir to humanity's essential stories, and I have set out to explore the ways in which myth takes modern form in the news.

"The primary research vehicle for most of my work is a series of case studies of the New York Times. Through the stories of the Times, I demonstrate the remarkable similarities between news reports and myths. The sacrifice of Innocent Victims is shown in news of the terrorist killing of Leon Klinghoffer. The archetypal Good Mother, who nurtures and cares for the unfortunate, is discovered in reporting on Mother Teresa. Myths of the Hero are revealed in stories of home-run king Mark McGwire. The crude and cruel Trickster is uncloaked in articles on boxer Mike Tyson. Through these cases and others, I reveal the archetypal myths found every day in the news and explore the rich social, cultural, and political implications of news as myth. I want the reader to appreciate that people of the twenty-first century share stories of the human experience with people of the first century. It is humbling to consider that in our modern, high-tech, online world, we find practices and stories—eternal stories—that date back to tribal times."



Booklist, February 15, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of Daily News, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism, p. 1087.

Choice, July-August, 2001, R.A. Logan, review of Daily News, Eternal Stories, p. 1951.

Columbia Journalism Review, March, 2001, Christopher Hanson, review of Daily News, Eternal Stories, p. 64.

Library Journal, March 15, 2001, Judy Solberg, review of Daily News, Eternal Stories, p. 91.

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