Page One – Inside the New York Times

The New York Times has the third largest daily national subscription base in the United States, trailing the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. While many other newspapers continue to drop like flies, the NYT is no stranger to hard times, yet it has somehow managed to stay relevant in a dramatically challenging era. Page One: Inside the New York Times, the documentary from director Andrew Rossi, takes a look at the venerable “gray lady” as her staff wrestles with several large stories including the emergence of WikiLeaks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the emergence of “new media.”

While largely centered on new media reporter David Carr, it is fascinating to watch as he and his editors work to break the Chicago Tribune story among others, despite threats of lawsuits and intimidation. Other reporters at the paper are also showcased, but Carr’s gruff exterior, dramatic back-story and dedication to the craft, are what humanizes this film. More than the sum of its parts, the New York Times is an example of what a newspaper can be. One telling exchange that made the movie for me was when David Carr visits the editorial staff of upstart media company Vice and takes the self-acclaimed, non-journalist down a few notches. While many claim this film features too much Carr, I think the mixture is just right. When was the last time you saw an employee fight back as opposed to folding?

It’s ironic to see the reporters dealing with the emergence of WikiLeaks in 2010, given what we have since seen, and how they Times handles the non-event photo-op of the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, as they wonder if their gamble is correct. Seeing this film gives me hope that the mainstream media can survive the new world order, and I for one will keep my subscription to do my part.

Page One is playing the Loft Cinema starting July 8, 3233 E. Speedway Boulevard. For showtimes visits 795-7777.


About Herb Stratford

Arts and culture writer and film reviewer. Historic theatre restoration consultant. Artist and arts educator.
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