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During the most tumultuous time for media in generations, filmmaker Andrew Rossi gains unprecedented access to the newsroom at The New York Times. For a year, he follows journalists on the paper's Media Desk, a department created to cover the transformation of the media industry. Through this prism, a complex view emerges of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity, especially at the Times itself. Written by
A look at an important problem that affects all of us
An interesting look behind the scenes at the venerable New York Times newspaper that asks whether traditional newspapers can survive in an age of social media, blogs and the rampant sense of entitlement from internet users who demand, nonsensically, that all online content be free. The film and its interviewees argue that blogs largely regurgitate content from other sources and there needs to be a core of journalists on the ground who generate the stories in the first place. Without that, journalism in general, not just print media, will be in serious jeopardy.
It's a subject I have tremendous sympathy for, and while I wish the film was a little more hard-hitting and passionate in its approach, it certainly makes its points forcefully. That's thanks in large part to the presence of David Carr, a NY Times reporter who barrels through proceedings with a refreshingly upfront and frank manner, even at one point berating an interviewee who comes off as something of a lightweight when he slates the papers incorrectly for not doing their jobs. I liked him very much, and he's by far the most engaging part of the documentary.
It's a sad state of affairs, and the human cost is illustrated by scenes of Times employees who have been there for decades packing up their desks following layoffs. It's not just the information that's at risk, the movie reminds us, but people and their jobs and their families. Progress is progress, but sometimes we head in worrying and idiotic directions, and the problem 'Page One' addresses is certainly one of those times; I hope the brakes can be put on before it's too late.
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