Home Contents & Intro Essays & UpdatesContact


Harry Potter Series
Maligned by Media Article

by Ari Armstrong

This essay, originally published July 21, 2010, was rewritten in 2011 for the Expanded Edition of Values of Harry Potter. Only the first section of the essay appears here.

In J. K. Rowling's harry potter series of novels, the unethical journalist Rita Skeeter intentionally misrepresents quotes, employs deception to gather information, and smears subjects by dropping important context about them.

Unfortunately, one of Skeeter's signature techniques, dropping context, is on display in a real-life article about the Potter series published in 2008 by the American Communication Journal. This is particularly ironic given that the article, written by lead author Amanda Sturgill in collaboration with Jessica Winney and Tina Libhart, condemns Skeeter as "the epitome of the corrupt, yellow journalist stereotype."

Moreover, by unfairly criticizing the Potter series in a media release, Sturgill promoted Skeeter-like headlines throughout the popular media. For example, one headline blared,

Sturgill and her coauthors claim of the novels, "The extremely negative depiction of journalism could have an adverse effect on child readers of the series as they may not have an understanding of journalism in a broader context." However, Sturgill's article actually demonstrates through its own errors, methodological flaws, and missing context that the critical skepticism toward media encouraged by the Potter series is entirely warranted.

Furthermore, elements of the novels ignored by Sturgill's paper reveal a constructive view of journalism within the series. (Please see the Expanded Edition of Values of Harry Potter for the complete essay.)

Want more in-depth analysis of Harry Potter? Order
Ari Armstrong's Values of Harry Potter: Lessons for Muggles.

Buy Now: Paperback $14.99 | Kindle $8.99

This book is a work of literary criticism. It has not been prepared, authorized, or endorsed
by J. K Rowling or anyone else associated with the Harry Potter books or movies.