Page One: Inside the New York Times
So you think you wanna be a writer?
This fascinating insight behind the scenes at one of the most lauded daily newspapers in the world will either have you hankering for the journalistic lifestyle, or leave you with the sobering thought that print news is a dying media.
This is how the interviewees would have you see it, anyway. For the most part the documentary considers how the mighty Internet and its capacity for free, uncontrolled, Everyman publishing presents a huge threat to traditional print media. This, we already know. Doubtless many of us read our newspapers (local and international) online, and for free, enabling a far wider, more global take on current affairs.
What’s interesting is the fact that while news aggregator sites such as The Huffington Post are partly blamed for the change in wind direction, a NY Times media reporter makes the salient point that without the newspapers, they wouldn’t have news to aggregate.
Said reporter, David Carr, is our voice during the film – ex-junkie and single dad, he peels off pithy one-liners that don’t just sound clever but actually ring true. His thinly veiled outrage when interviewing his subjects at Vice magazine is entertaining and inspiring. But as he admits – if you write about the media long enough, eventually you’ll type your way to your own front door.
There is a terrific scene where the news team get wind of the USA’s decision to withdraw troops from the Middle East, via the TV media rather than the Pentagon, and are not sure what to rely on – a curious but no doubt common incidence of primary and secondary sources starting to blur (“Is this a media story, or an ‘actual’ story?” quips the news chief.)
Page One isn’t a day-in-the-life, but it’s a very pertinent analysis of journalism’s present and predicted future. Screening in the week that Rupert Murdoch’s empire starts to crumble, a film like this couldn’t come at a better time.