A page a day

Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Page One

If you haven’t seen “Page One: Inside the New York Times,” jump on your Netflix queue and add this documentary to your viewing list. The brilliantly reported 2011 film from Andrew Rossi takes a broad view of the future of journalism, and specifically of that old Gray Lady of the reported word, our national standard for the daily print experience. I continue to rely on the Times for most of my daily news, and so do hundreds of thousands of other intelligent folks out there in America.

My only gripe – I’d take a less aggressive stance on the Jayson Blair plagiarism incident, reasoning that most mainstream readers didn’t pay as much attention to the gravity of this offense as us media types did. If you polled even educated readers today on who Jayson Blair might be, I doubt he’d get name recognition above 4-5 percent, if that.

Outspoken NYT  (“fair-minded, diligent”) reporter David Carr, featured prominently in the film, is one of the most up-front journalists bouncing around today, and viewers get to see him in rapid action in this film. He’s the type of firey journo that is rarely seen these days, and I confess that his simple remarks while driving to a conference at the close of the film “it’s sort of lonely and scary out there. It’s a way of gathering around a campfire and saying ‘we’re all right, aren’t we? Are we OK?’ ‘We’re fine. We must be. We’ve got badges on.'” pretty much summed it all up for me.

To close, I’d just give a nod to my entry in the Poynter six word journalism motto challenge from a few years back (it was awarded an honorable mention): “No news is not good news.” That’s an a-ha aphorism we can all agree with. As one reporter put it in the documentary: “It just doesn’t work if people don’t know.”

Papers in DC during my May 2012 trip.

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