Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Viral Video: "Page One" at Sundance

One of the more interesting movies at the 11th Sundance Film Festival, which opens today in Park City, Utah, will be “Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times.”

The documentary is by Andrew Rossi, who spent a year following reporters and editors at the famed newspaper, even as the media landscape shifted dramatically due to the impact of digital technologies.

Here’s the program description from Sundance:

With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source, newspapers going bankrupt, and outlets focusing on content they claim audiences (or is it advertisers?) want, PAGE ONE chronicles the media industry’s transformation and assesses the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct.

The film deftly makes a beeline for the eye of the storm or, depending on how you look at it, the inner sanctum of the media, gaining unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom for a year. At the media desk, a dialectical play-within-a-play transpires as writers like salty David Carr track print journalism’s metamorphosis even as their own paper struggles to stay vital and solvent. Meanwhile, rigorous journalism–including vibrant cross-cubicle debate and collaboration, tenacious jockeying for on-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching–is alive and well. The resources, intellectual capital, stamina, and self-awareness mobilized when it counts attest there are no shortcuts when analyzing and reporting complex truths.

What is probably most interesting is that many of the stories covered by the Times in the film are about the technological forces that have put it and other traditional media organizations through the digital ringer in recent years.

And, as someone who made the move away from a big mainstream newspaper to an online-only publication, I experienced some significant déjà vu watching clips in this interview with Rossi below, especially of the editor-centric tone of the newsroom and the franticness of reporters to get a story on the front page.

Which these days feels like such an odd and ancient way to think of journalism and which I also don’t miss for a second. (By the way, you can do “rigorous” journalism online too and without all the endless meetings.)

Check out Rossi (and that’s the very funny NYT media columnist David Carr in the photo below):


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