Page One: Inside the New York Times

(2011)

Genres: Documentary

Review: Page One: Inside the New York Times

Transcript for Review: Page One: Inside the New York Times

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Our next film, PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES, looks at the journalists and editors who work on putting together stories for the newspaper’s front page. Filmed over the course of 2010, it orbits around a few of the year’s big stories and a handful of colorful personalities. One of these is the slouchy, chain-smoking David Carr—a former crack addict who quit drugs and ended up as a media columnist for the Times.  
 
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Carr is a newspaper reporter’s newspaper reporter. He seems a world removed from the younger but equally hardworking Brian Stelter, who made his way to the Times out of the blogosphere.
 
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The film follows these and other journalists as they investigate, write, re-write, conduct interviews, drink, complain, worry, write some more, smoke a lot of cigarettes and just hang out.
 
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As a study of the modern newspaper, this isn’t much, but as a study of modern newspapermen, it’s fascinating and revealing. I give it a thumbs up.

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
My thumb is vaguely down. And you’re right. The whole thing could have been, and should have been about David Carr because then it would have been focused. I mean, one of the many things they touch on here is the impotis of the iPad and that changes the way they convey news. Watching this film kind of feels like reading the New York Times on an iPad. You can touch something here and touch something there, and there’s no great momentum building toward anything. There’s no great cohesion, there’s just little pieces. Some of which are compelling, but not all of them. I mean the Carr takedown of the Tribune company is fascinating, and watching how that takes shape with negotiations with various editors. But a lot of it is navel-gazing, and I’m the target audience for this. I worked in news for a long time. 

IGNATIY:
I think it’s scattered, but I don’t think its navel-gazing. What do you mean, “It’s navel-gazing?”

CHRISTY:
In that it’s very self-important. It conveys the smugness of the Times. And I think outside of really hardcore news junkies and people who work in our business, I’m not sure who this is useful for.

IGNATIY:
For me the tone of the film is often quite desperate. I mean there’s that long section where you see all those people get, you know, voluntarily resign, in order to avoid getting laid off.

CHRISTY:
Right, there is, that is unfortunately happening in our business with all of the buyouts and yes it’s very unfortunate. And it encompasses that and so much else that it feels kind of unwieldy to me.

IGNATIY:
I will give you that it’s a little bit unwieldy, but the material just following around Carr is so strong. I don’t know where you see the smugness. I didn’t see anything smug about it whatsoever.

CHRISTY:
I feel like it was like, oh we’re The New York Times we’re going to survive no matter what.

IGNATIY:
Looks like somebody has a problem with The New York Times.

CHRISTY:
Oh not me.