Sundance Review – Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
The Sundance Film Festival is a a wonderful and eclectic film festival, featuring independent films, which is held every January in my hometown of Park City. It’s a diversion from our regular winter activities and each festival brings a unique slate of films which may never be seen outside of the festival circuit. Some films are incredibly good, some not quite as much, but it’s always an interesting experience to mingle with the PIBs (people in black) and attend a screening or two. This year, the film I made it to was one that had some real intrigue for me with this intriguing introductions:
With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source, newspapers going bankrupt, and outlets focusing on content they claim audiences (or is it advertisers?) want. Page One chronicles the media industry’s transformation and assesses the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct.
The film was called, “Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times” and while the film did seem to cover a variety of stories over the course of a year in the New York Times newsroom, it seemed more focused on addressing the shift in how news that we read is created, disseminated and consumed. I personally browse to and read the Times online practically every morning online, but I also work in the new media environment that is the challenge to the continued existence of the old “Gray Lady”.
Like practically every newspaper, the Times has been struggling to find ways to bolster flagging revenues and while part of that involves hard to swallow layoffs, the other is balancing the editorial and journalistic processes that have laid the foundation for the reputation that the publication justly deserves, with the ever accelerating news cycle that rewards speed over all else. One of the man protagonists in the newsroom is the gruff and thoroughly entertaining journalist , David Carr. On the one hand Carr is the consummate journalist and defender of what the Times represents; however he also is a staunch realist who can see the shift that has happened in the way the American public consumes media and it truly was interesting to hear him remark in the Q&A about how he has come to embrace Twitter.
While the film that does meander off onto tangents in places, it remains true to showing The New York Times is as an institution that is still very much relevant and it is rapidly evolving to hopefully be able to continue to exist as a viable news organization. I for one hope it does as I believe quite strongly that the insight and breadth of coverage available there cannot be found otherwise online or offline. I’ve heard that this film has been picked up for distribution, and while the topic of journalism and new media might be resonate for everyone, I think most regular readers of this blog would definitely find the movie to be of interest, so I would recommend heading out to check it out.
Enough of my blathering, here’s the film’s director, Andrew Rossi describing his film:
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