I saw this film last April at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham and really love it. I saw it again this weekend at the Colony Theater in Raleigh where it will play through next week. It is also playing in the Triangle at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary.
PAGE ONE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES (Dir. Andrew Rossi, 2011)
Andrew Rossi's new documentary poses the question: are we witnessing the death of print media due to the internet, or are we just in a transitional period in which institutions like the New York Times will figure out how to adapt to the changing technological landscape and ultimately survive?
This film convincingly argues the latter, but it's going to be quite a struggle in the face of online competition such as the bloggosphere and Wikileaks.
Rossi's unprecedented access to the media desk of the New York Times for a year (2009-2010) has us listening like a fly on the wall to key players including Executive Editor Bill Keller, blogger turned Times writer Brain Stelter, Media Marketing Editor Bruce Headlam, and Baghdad bureau chief Tim Arangoand media and culture columnist David Carr who steals the movie over and over with his dead on acerbic comments.
We learn about the "New Times Effect," in which what the Times prints one day will set the agenda for what every other news outlet prints the next.
We learn about how Judith Miller's false reporting of Weapons of Mass Destruction damaged the Times' credibility.
From old grainy footage we learn about the newspaper's history, especially in clips of Allistar Cooke visiting the Times from the program Omnibus in 1954 I'd sure like to see more of.
As I said before Carr steals this film, but he also symbolizes the fight that the Times has left in it. One particularly amusing scene has the former crack addict turned media columinst vaporizing (his word, not mine) a blogger opponent at a SXSW panel.
PAGE ONE is a masterful piece of infotainment that captures a turbulent time for the Times. Since we're still in that time it really shouldn't be missed by anybody who has even a passing interest in the state of modern print media. Or by those who love an extremely well made engrossing documentary.