By Matt Pais
RedEye movie critic
12:00 AM CDT, June 30, 2011
**1/2 (out of four)
Ad revenues are a shadow of their former selves. People are getting news from Twitter, Facebook, Wikileaks, everywhere else on the Internet and basically anywhere but print media. What’s a little old historic newspaper to do? This doc enters the legendary paper to see if we really are facing, as one hashtag suggests, #mediaarmageddon.
Obviously: How I respond to this movie—especially since it covers David Carr’s extensive piece on the bankruptcy of the Tribune Company, my employer—will inevitably be different from that of a viewer who doesn’t work for a media company. Regardless, it’s great to see a film show the way newspapers actually operate, rather than the sensationalized gabfest that usually occurs in rom-com newsrooms.
The verdict: Does the movie emulate the Times’ reputation for diligent, relentless pursuit of the truth? Nah, it’s too glossy for that, reiterated by director Andrew Rossi’s choice to end “Page One” with executive editor Bill Keller (who recently announced he was stepping down) announcing the paper’s latest batch of Pulitzer Prizes. The question, “What would the world be like without the New York Times?” also doesn’t receive a full and balanced examination, especially considering a grand total of zero members of the public are given a voice in this doc. I still found the film riveting in its look at how to maintain old-school journalism principles when the bottom line doesn’t always allow it. Half-hearted encouragement: Carr admits that he succumbed to joining Twitter, and it didn’t turn his brain to mush.
Did you know? Brian Stelter landed his job at the NYT simply by earning acclaim for his blog. If that’s not modernity, I don’t know what is.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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