Not only is the subject matter of the film, an insight into the NYT, interesting on face value, the film ends up grappling with the changing media landscape through talking heads, all of whom provide interesting and often conflicting perspectives, and through following the actions of David Carr, a former crack addict and now media reporter for the Times.
Carr shines in the film, I got so much pleasure out of watching him slam the founders of Vice Magazine to their faces and his supremely strong sense of where he is and what he does. Not only is he funny and insightful, his unique activism for the Times as still a bastion of journalism seems to be the crux and heart of the film, which really does leave you enarmoured by the Grey Lady.
In addition to Carr, the film also features many other reporters, desk chiefs and even quite a significant amount of time with Executive Editor Bill Keller, who really humanises the top job in the world’s biggest paper.
The pace of the film prevented it from ever falling into overtrod territory - we spin through the first big WikiLeaks infodump, the demise of publisher Tribune and the introduction of NYT paid subscriptions; perhaps a lesser story but nonetheless a seismic shift in the role and practice of the newspaper.
An interesting companion piece to Bill Cunningham New York and vastly superior to Sorkin’s The Newsroom in content and ideology, this is a documentary that should be watched by anyone interested in the old and new schools of journalism and really anyone who has ever dreamed, however faintly, of taking up residence in the Times’ incredible New York office.
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