Page One: Inside The New York Times


Page One: Inside The New York Times sp – The news media has been undergoing a radical change in the last few years. The new media and the blogosphere is rapidly competing as a source of breaking news. Advertising revenue has fallen as much as 30 % in the past year for many of the leading newspapers. Many newspapers throughout the country have closed. It is rare to have two major newspapers even in a  large city, let alone three of them. Filmmaker Andrew Rossi persuaded the venerable New York Times to let him spend close to a year to be essentially embedded, mostly in their New York headquarters, in order to make a documentary showing how they are carrying on their proud tradition in the face of all these changes. While he worked closely with his wife filmmaker Kate Novack, and a team of editors, it was Rossi alone who roamed the multileveled headquarters with his trusty camera on his shoulder. He was there when the WikiLeaks story broke and he was able to capture how the New York Times writers and editorial staff struggled with the ethics and ultimate decision to print the leaks  and how they became part of the story. He was filming at the staff meetings when the writers and editors were trying to figure out if the war in Iraq was coming to an end because NBC was breaking a story about departing troops but it wasn’t part of the US government announcements. The central character in the much of this documentary is NY Times writer David Carr who himself has a very colorful history, once being addicted to cocaine and now being a senior well respected, witty, crusty, very capable  reporter  who mostly covers media issues. The film shows us how he approached the big time story of the collapse of the well known Tribune media giant, its subsequent buyout by some non newspaper people who bled the organization, dismantled their ethical base and were running a corrupt unethical management team themselves. They ultimately resigned demonstrating the power and value of the New York Times, functioning at its best as it used all its resources to report this story. In the end we are quite enlightened about the changes in how we get our news and the choices we have. We are also quite impressed as we see the coming together in a working alliance of young new media people within the powerful “legacy” news organizations symbolized by the New York Times. Working side by side or cubicle to cubicle this new generation of Times men and women seem to be able to provide the leadership and a viable co-existence with the huge blogsphere that continues to grow. It is clear that everything will be different with each year or two and the concluding lines of the story have not yet been written, This documentary does capture this fascinating piece of evolving journalism in a verite style. It is somewhat choppy without a clear plot, which reflects the nature of the content. You may walk away from this film and say , “I sort of knew all this”  but for certain you will not take David Carr and his colleagues for granted any more. (2011)

Category: 3 Stars, Documentary | Tags: , , , , , , , Comment »

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