I’m a sucker for documentaries. The fact that this one enables us to be a fly-on-the-wall of a newsroom, when stories are discussed and reporters are making pitches…
When the documentary The September Issue came out, even though I’d never opened a single issue of Vogue, I found the characters fascinating.
This movie gives us some interesting people. There’s the feisty David Carr. He’s a single dad, a former crack addict, and you can’t get enough of him.
He can be polite but stern, when interviewing subjects. And he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
There’s Brian Stelter, a young man that was doing a news blog that got so popular, the New York Times offered him a job.
He’s the guy that seems to help the old-timers realize the importance of Twitter and the Internet.
I thought the story about Sam Zell running the Chicago Tribune was bizarre to watch unfold. It was interesting to hear newspaper writers discussing WikiLeaks, or talking about the expensive of having a reporter in Afghanistan.
People in the media will be more interested in this movie than everyone else, since it’s dealing with the Internet surpassing print as the main source of news. The problem the media types will have with this picture is that they don’t tell us anything we don’t already know.
We’ve heard of these papers that went bankrupt. We know about Watergate and how those reporters worked to get the story back then. I left the movie wondering what was so “inside” about some of those things.
It was written and directed by Andrew Rossi, and it’s great he had this access at such an interesting time at the paper.
It felt like Rossi was slanting this a lot in favor of the Times. You can’t watch this and not wonder if this vanity piece for the paper is all one big infomercial for their online services.
The movie ended up being all over the map. You wonder if one of the Times editors would’ve gotten a hold of a story like this, would they have said “Chop it down to 1,500 words. I don’t care if that means 45 minutes is cut out, you’re just regurgitating info that we all know. Do that, and have it on my desk by 5:00. We’re moving this off the cover, and to the back pages.”
This is the type of documentary that will be viewed in high school journalism classes.
I preferred the journalism teacher I had in 10th grade (Mrs. Emery from Mira Mesa High) having us watch Absence of Malice (Sally Field, Paul Newman). It was a much more interesting film.
I’d suggest most newspaper movies over this, aside from Ron Howard’s The Paper, which was one of the worst movies of 1994.
Unless you’re a news junkie or lover of documentaries – this probably isn’t for you.
It gets 2 ½ stars out of 5.