Review of Page One: Inside the New York Times

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Page One: Inside the New York Times is a new documentary that paints a portrait of the changing news-cape through the eyes of the New York Times  media-desk.

The film chronicles the day to day activities of writers and editors as they cover stories form the collapse of the Tribune Company to the release of the Wikileaks War Logs. For New York Times die-hard subscribers the film showcases the intricacies of the editorial process, and effectively functions as a reaffirmation of the painstaking attention to detail that goes into each story found in the grey lady.

A fact exemplified by a scene in which media editor Bruce Hedlam and a few colleagues linger around the office well after the business day is over agonizing over whether or not the alleged withdrawal of American combat troops from Kuwait, as proported by NBC, is in fact a news story, a media story or, as it were, no story at all. After hours of waiting to view how the event is covered by NBC, phone calls and emails to Washington, the Pentagon and multiple discussions between editors and reporters they effectively decide that it's an NBC publicity stunt and not an event worthy of further expenditure of Times' resources.

 

 For those who haven't been able to come to terms with the prospect of paying for access to the New York Times' online content, media columnist David Carr is a rogue journalist who functions as the Times' liaison to the younger set.

 As an ex drug addict and former convict, Carr has a blunt, no bull, disgruntled and incredibly perceptive disposition. His presence aims to showcase that you can still be critical of established institutions while working within one. He's a journalist with conviction and a die-hard protector of The Times.

The scene that woud appeal most  to the youth-set is when he enters the Vice Magazine office for a meeting with founders and board members to discuss Vice's unlikely partnership with CNN.  Carr cuts to the chase and bluntly asks, "What the fuck is going on that you're doing business with CNN?"

This encounter occurs early in the film and establishes Carr's credibility with alt/hipster/anti-establishment youth who cling to Vice as an alternative media haven now entrenched within the very system it proclaims to reject. While the question is blunt and simple it is loaded, an interview style Carr entertainingly exhibits throughout the film.

The film circles around the central concern of the perceived collapse of the newspaper industry and entertains, from various perspectives, the question: what would happen in the New York Times went out of business? The film effectively functions a sales pitch to those who do not pay for access and a beacon to the younger generation accustomed to the idea that because the Times is free it should be free. Although the film is a pitch, it makes a convincing argument and provides an exceedingly interesting, complex and at times exciting glimpse into life at the New York Times.

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