This week my blog is about a documentary film called “First Page” which depicts modern day operations within the New York Times. You can catch this movie at Cinematheque which is located in the heart of the exchange.
This documentary demonstrates some challenges modern journalism faces especially within the New York Times context. The documentary also illustrates the growing demand for online journalism and how social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter play a significant role today in disseminating information. The documentary uses a case study that compares the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s with a video posted to YouTube by WikiLeaks that depicts US military negligence. In both cases there was information valuable and shocking to the citizenry about their countries war efforts overseas. In the case of Watergate scandal, the New York Times received documents portraying the Nixon administration negatively. The YouTube video posted by WikiLeaks also had negative connotations; however the medium of printed press wasn’t required in order for the message to reach the public. This aspect of the movie tended to be one of the main themes as it explained the changing roles of gatekeepers within the mass media. This changing landscape of modern media outlets especially within the print industry became clearer after I watched this film.
I experienced the movie as entertainment rather than education. Although I did learn much about the NYTimes operations in general; the movie was produced the in a manner that left me smiling and laughing. The film featured a reporter named David Carr, a once drug addict turned into a highly respected reporter. This in itself was intriguing as I always appreciate a good underdog story. The movie portrayed the daily life of the NYTimes employees as being fast paced and exciting. This I believe contributed to the entertainment value of the movie as I was on the edge of my seat at times wondering what would David Carr say next.
In my opinion this documentary film was produced as a marketing tool to engage people and humanize the NYTimes. Personally, I have been to the NYTimes web site more often this past week than ever before in my life. I find their website clear and easy to maneuver when comparing it with other online newspapers and journals. The NYTimes app for Blackberry is free only for the major headlines and stories. If you want the full app you have to subscribe and in return will have unlimited access to all of the NYTimes.
I would recommend this movie to anybody interested in modern day print media. I would also recommend this movie to anyone curious about the current state of mass media and globalization. I give this movie 3/5 stars.