“In 2008, the New York Times created a Media Desk to report on changes in the media industry-including at The Times itself.”
Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011) is a documentary jointly written by Kate Novac and Andrew Rossi, and directed by Andrew Rossi. The film features prominent editors and journalist from The New York Times; David Carr, Brian Stelter, Tim Arango, Bill Keller, and Bruce Headlam. Page One gives viewers a poignant view inside one of the country’s most well-known and established newspapers.
In this documentary, directed by Andrew Rossi, condenses for us the effect technology has on the news industry–taking into the heart of The New YorkTimes and documents the struggles of print media due to the advent of the internet. The way we get our news has changed. Through technology, we have access to the news via any digital medium imaginable. This is reflective of the decline of print and paper media. Viability of the daily newspaper, magazines, fliers, etc., continues to decline rapidly. Many may consider this ‘a birth’ in news journalism that began with the advent of the internet, and how easy it is for anyone, anywhere can log on to a computer, create a blog, send a tweet, or ‘like’ something online. The news is no longer exclusive to the printing press.
Aside from the ever obvious impact media has on our daily lives, “Page One” focuses on “what if” The Times were to succumb to digital media. The film details the statistics for the New York Times; stock prices are down 75%–in 2009, there was a 30% decline in advertising revenue, and an increase in competition, fueled by the surge in new media, created an air of uncertainty at The Times. News as we know it and the staunch reality of it all–as technology has proven–anyone with a blog or social medium can do it. There are many people out there, and there are many different ways in which to shape the news. It is with the utmost certainty that the numbers will continue to grow.
Rossi’s Page One is an evocative view of The Times, smartly done in a behind-the-scenes and stylistic method. He makes it a point to show viewers the value of the old way of doing the news is important–it just has to modify itself for the digital world. The news has to remain accountable, which was made evident, when the film briefly detailed the scandal with two of the former Times reporters Jayson Blair and Judith Miller. Blair, who was found to have plagiarized some of his reports published to the Times, and Miller, who reported on matters regarding the Weapons of Mass Destruction was proven false–challenging the credibility of the paper at the time–just as the internet has proven time and time again–the importance of accountability in the news. The film aptly pointed out just how the paper handled the scandals, and how these events may have even humbled the editors and reporters–if anything, to prove to them that The New York Times isn’t infallible.
The film depicts the survivability and inter-workings of the Times, that it still reigns in as one of the worlds most trusted news sources–in print and on the net. The realization here is; paper media is not dead. There will always the need for the ‘tangible news.’ Overall it doesn’t matter–trans-media does not take the place of great writing and rigorous journalism.
Page One: Inside The New York Times‘s DVD special features hosts an abundance of interviews and opinions from some of the most leading individuals in journalism. Carl Bernstein on the “Real Threat to Newspapers” offers a poignant view on new media, including the advantages of the internet brings ‘death to the newspaper,’ in an aspect. How many institutions will survive, because the internet enhances the way news is obtainable. Emily Bell of The Guardian on “Keeping Journalism Relevant” discusses the “crisis” surrounding professional journalism and news; the ability for newspapers having the ability to disburse its networks and being able to sustain function. Relevancy is key. Sarah Ellisonon “The Mind of Murdoch” discusses Rupert Murdoch and his threat to The New York Times, along with his predatory competitiveness against The Times. Journalist React to “Page One” features journalist reactions to the film. Q & A highlights with the cast and filmmakers. Andrew Rossi discuss aspects of filming Page One. Also, asking those featured in the film on how they perceived the film and the importance of social media. “Mini-feature: Tim Arango with João Silva in Iraq.”
Page One successfully brings into question the viability of the printed news as we know it. Moreover, the viability of The Times. Almost everything we read, could easily be be traced back to The New York Times in some form or another. This doesn’t make the news we read elsewhere less important or less credible, if it hadn’t originated from The Times. The news is tremendously accessible via many facets. This film depicted the inner-workings of The Times seamlessly and reinforces the importance of traditional journalism.
However, there is one question that still remains–if The Times didn’t bring us the news in all of its formalities–then who better to show us just how to do it?