Is the newspaper dying? The question is debated by every editor, writer and journalism student. I know my college paper is always having that very conversation. Sure, with the advent of online media and the rise of citizen journalism, the business model of print newspapers is becoming outdated. The most well known newspaper, The New York Times (NYT), is feeling the growing pains according to the documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times.”
The jury is still out on the newspaper according to this documentary. This jury was also full of information some of which is pertinent and some that is not.
The documentary served as a very interesting view of the inner workings of the New York Times. As a journalism student, I was fascinated by the clips of meetings and personal stories from the NYT staff. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the NYT office, and in that respect, the documentary was extremely valuable.
There was some very interesting commentary on social media and it’s place in journalism today. Clearly all news media are being pushed towards blogging, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. Citizen journalism through these medias is has be lauded as the downfall of the professional journalist.
As the documentary pointed out, the New York Times has embraced new media, but there are jobs that only a professional journalist can do. Someone has to cover wars from the scene. Someone has to track down interviews and write unbiased reports of information.
As a story, however, “Page One” was lacking a strong focus. The overall theme was clearly the larger question of the future of journalism. Interviews drew from the history of newspaper coverage , but the transitions were jumpy if evident at all. Yes, the documentary always came back to the larger theme, but all of the information was not relevant to that theme.
The last text of the documentary featured information about Brian Stelter’s diet, the stepping down of Bill Keller, the induction of the first female executive editor Jill Abramson (go women!) and the big question. That is just a bit of a reflection of the randomness the documentary provided.
“Page One” exhibited the heart that still exists within the NYT. Without a doubt, the documentary was made a statement of strength drawing from the NYT’s past, present and future. There was a major lack of unity and flow within the documentary itself that threw watchers from the main point at times.
*As a side note, I live tweeted as I watched “Page One” at @katysny. I even got an @ response from Brian Stelter after tweeting about his use of WordPress in the documentary. I’m going to gush a little. It was pretty cool even though he was just verifying my assumption.