The Newsroom of The New York Times from "Page One". Photo by Andrew Rossi
Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Andrew Rossi
"Page One" could have been called “Everything I Learned in Journalism 101.” The film informs viewers of the ins and outs of the current day struggles and uncertainty traditional news media outlets face due to fragmentation, loss of advertising revenue and massive lay offs in the industry. It is a film that will inevitably be shown in college level journalism classes throughout the country. It demonstrates the way news-gathering works, show how the age-old industry is rapidly changing and also proves that traditional reporting and news coverage is still relevant, despite the emergence of blogs and other information distribution mechanisms. As the film progresses we meet a number of journalists working primarily in the “media” department, which was created in 2008 to report on changes in the media. It doesn’t take long for columnist David Carr to emerge as the star of the documentary. Carr is brutally honest about his past with drug addiction and the honesty is transferred to his style of reporting and the method in which he breaks an unlikely story about the bankrupt Tribune Company. In addition to the “new media” story perspective, the war also takes center stage. At one point employees argue whether they should run a story about NBC declaring the end of the war—debating whether this is a photo-op stunt being used to create the feeling of closure or a piece of embargoed information coming from the Pentagon. As the film draws to an end it reaffirms that good, traditional reporting allows bloggers to exist. It’s hard to say if those that claim, “print journalism is dead” will be moved or informed by Page One's message, but for media students and working professionals it’s a clear reminder that traditional news gathering still has a pulse.