I love journalism porn. I’m not talking about Playboy editorials, nor am I talking about the most sleekly designed, well-written publications available today.

Specifically, I’m referring to the second dictionary definition under “porn”: television programs, magazine, books, etc. that are regarded as emphasizing the sensuous or sensational aspects of a nonsexual subject and stimulating a compulsive interest in their audience.

In this scenario, the keywords/phrases are “television, books, etc.” (film), “sensational aspects” and “compulsive interest in their audience.” The sensational aspects are the dedication, idealism and honesty of the upward-looking depictions in my favorite Journalism porn go-tos: HBO’s “The Newsroom,” the 2015 film “Spotlight” and the 2007 FX series “Dirt” — more different than similar, all three pieces of media fluff up the cloudy pedestal on which I’ve placed The Fourth Estate.

“The Newsroom” is an often-criticized portrayal of an elite newsroom basked in Sorkin-esque idealism and crisply engineered banter: often-criticized in that many media sources find the show's tone preachy and idealistic in the way that it offers an otherworldly example of journalism. It pays no attention to balance for balance’s sake, gives facts and asks only knowledgeable guests to weigh in. But in today’s political culture where political television more often than not resembles ideological MMA fighting rather than intellectual discourse, maybe 2016 could use a little Atlantis Cable News. Or maybe I just watch “The Newsroom” too much. I don’t think that’s anyone’s call to make.

As “The Newsroom” is idealistic, “Spotlight” is raw. “Spotlight,” one of this year’s least flashy “Best Picture” nominees, tells the story of a Boston investigative journalism team uncovering a widespread child sex abuse in the Boston archdiocese of the Catholic Church. It shows the grueling work — the fact-checking, the busy work, the frustration and even the anger and shame that can accompany aspects of the job. “Spotlight” gracefully balances the heavy content with brief moments of humor that didn’t detract from the story being told, as well as highlighting the often-forgotten origin of journalism: truth. Not because it’s easy or necessarily what people want to hear, but because it’s right.

“Dirt” — if the name didn’t give it away — is lower brow than the aforementioned and puts more of its emphasis on the “porn.” The short-lived FX drama centers on ruthless gossip magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Spiller (Courteney Cox, “Friends”). It's the epitome of guilty pleasure. It’s lurid in its portrayal of both journalism and celebrity: the nittiest and the grittiest aspects of both played out over a season and a half of out of control cover stories including a beheaded R&B star, fake pregnancies, real pregnancies and (clearly) a “Sexxx Issue,” polybagged and loaded with celebs’ private material.

While the dirtier aspects of “Dirt” do offer as much pleasure as they do guilt, Lucy Spiller offers a moral compass to a rather immoral show. Sure, she’s a tabloid queen (a business that the world would be much better off without), but her commitment to the truth and always getting “the scoop” is not only infectious, but in some ways it's reminiscent of “The Newsroom.” At D!rt Now, they are above publishing lies — instead they just do whatever it takes to get to the dirtiest truths.  

“The Newsroom,” “Spotlight” and “Dirt” exemplify the pornification of the journalist. Moreover, these quickly paced, highly addicting dramas point to something bigger. Think of the average television drama … each of them has a journalist or quasi-journalist character. “Scandal” is filled to the brim, “House of Cards” has Zoe, “Orange Is The New Black” has Larry (bleh), “Parks and Rec” has talk show hosts and many more, to name a few.

Journalism is pervasive, representationally, in today’s media, even if only through the use of minor characters. When the media elite do take the focus of a project, I can only liken that product to the most addicting of addictions. Journalism porn leaves me with what it admits to: sensationalism. But sensational is something to aspire to, is it not?

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