Page One: Inside the New York Times

Synopsis: During the most tumultuous time for media in generations, filmmaker Andrew Rossi gains unprecedented access to the newsroom at The New York Times. For a year, he follows journalists on the paper's Media Desk, a department created to cover the transformation of the media industry. Through this prism, a complex view emerges of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity, especially at the Times itself.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Andrew Rossi
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  3 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

It's hardly breaking news that the

newspaper business is in deep trouble.

The "Rocky Mountain News,"

which has been around

for 150 years, is publishing

its last edition today.

A great newspaper is dead.

Denver can't support

two newspapers any longer.

It's a grim race

to see who goes under first.

The "Philadelphia Daily News"

and Minneapolis "Star Tribune"

are both in bankruptcy.

"The Boston Globe" and "San Francisco

Chronicle" have been losing...

"The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"

the largest daily newspaper

yet to go out of business...

Tribune Company,

owner of the "LA Times"

and the "Chicago Tribune"

filed for bankruptcy...

And the Gannett Company

is faltering...

All the news that was fit

to print for 88 years...

After 146 years, the print edition

is now a thing of the past...

The "Grey Lady" is suffering from...

"New York Times" stock

is off more than 75%...

"The New York Times"... "The New

York Times," are you kidding me?!

The obituary column

these days is full

of the death notices

of American daily newspapers.

So there's been a death watch

on "The New York Times"

as long as I've been covering media.

People are sort of fascinated

with what's going

to be the demise

of this great institution.

And it hasn't come,

and it hasn't come,

but that doesn't lessen

people's certainty that it will come.

Okay, I see this as a big story.

I can probably get significant space.

What do you think the story

is that I should tell?

Lately when I finish an interview,

most subjects have

a question of their own:

What's going to happen

at "The New York Times"?

Even casual followers

of the newspaper industry

could rattle off

the doomsday tick-tock.

Bruce Headlam.

As much as we want to flatter ourselves,

ifs still this very

old-school business.

I'm the Media Editor.

You know, trees are still cut

and papers are still delivered.

I just think that helps us

sort of be in the mix.

- Yeah yeah.

- Okay.

Not to worry,

suggest the new-media prophets.

The end of "The New York Times"

wouldn't be that big of a deal,

they say, because tweets,

blogs and news aggregators

could create a new apparatus

of accountability.

Say again?

But some stories are

beyond the database.

Sometimes people have

to make the calls,

hit the streets and walk past

the conventional wisdom.

Well, trust me,

if your numbers are better

who were given the power

to rein her in,

I'm just always skeptical

when everybody tells me

that the numbers don't mean

what they appear to mean, you know.

Because everybody gives me that line,

so I don't accept it from anybody.

The collapse in advertising

happened faster

than anybody anticipated.

This year in 2009,

there's been about a 30%

decline in advertising revenue,

on top of about a 17%

decline last year,

and nobody knows

where that ends.

It might just be that something

very permanent has changed.

Two things have happened to "The Times,"

I think in a way, most oi all.

The first thing that's happened,

famously, is the advertising market

has turned upside down. So at the same

time as the revenue takes a hit,

suddenly publishing

has gone from being

something done by a specialty class

to being something that literally

every connected citizen

has access to.

So the authoritative tone with which

"The Times" has always spoken

is now one of many many

voices in a marketplace.

And that reduction

in advertising revenue

coupled with the competition for

attention- both at the same time-

has turned this

from a transition into a revolution.

So this is about WikiLeaks,

which is a website which calls itself

an intelligence agency for the people.

And yesterday they posted

this video of a US attack,

an aerial attack, where there

were 12 people killed.

The government claimed

at the time that these were insurgents,

but it turns out there were

two Reuters employees

and then some

other unknown people.

WikiLeaks somehow

from an anonymous source

gets the video

and puts it on YouTube.

It felt like a possible

front-page story to Bruce and I.

So now basically the assignment

for the rest of the day

is to keep the story

interesting to editors.

We're trying to do a front-page

story on what this means,

and what this means for journalism.

Clearly it's great for journalists in

some ways, because then it's out there,

but it's this kind

of collision of two worlds,

like this closed

old world of expertise

and classification

and information and privacy

and this new world that just

kind of wants to crack it all open.

You know, we see it ourselves.

We're a perfect example

of a kind of culture that,

you know, is having

what we do completely ripped open.

So it's... hey, did you send it?

Okay, yeah, I got it.

Yeah, thanks. Bye.

This is... these are watching

people get killed

in an incredibly graphic way

in a war

and hearing the reactions

of the soldiers.




I didn't see that- the van flips over.

I didn't notice that last time.

God, what a f***in' terrible story.

"The release of the Iraq video

is heaping attention

on the once-obscure website,

which aims to take advantage

of the global reach of the internet

and to bring to light hidden

information about governments

and multinational corporations."

They didn't have

to drop this off on the front step

of NBC News

or "The New York Times."

They just dropped it off

on YouTube

and waited

for everybody else to find it.

Even with "The Pentagon Papers,"

they had to be delivered by hand

and they can stop the presses.

This, they're just

taking it and they're just

putting it up there

where everybody can see it.

- Hello.

- Yes sir.

Hi, Al, anything new on your front today?

Very significant...

this goddamn "New York Times" expos

of the most highly-classified

documents of the war.

Well, God damn it,

I am not going to have it.

I mean,

could "The Times" be prosecuted?

Look, as far as "The Times"

is concerned, hell, they're our enemies.

I think we just oughta

do it and anyway, nobody

from "The New York Times"

is to be talked to.

The decision

to publish "The Pentagon Papers"

was the moment

when the American news media

stood up and said,

"We are independent of the presidency

and we are going to do what

we think is the right thing to do."

Do you feel, Mr. Sulzberger,

that the national security

is endangered,

as charged by the administration?

I certainly do not.

These papers, I think

as our editorial said this morning,

were really a part of-

a part of history

that should

have been made available

considerably longer ago,

and I just didn't feel

there was any breach

of national security

in the sense that we were

giving secrets to the enemy.

Julian Assange,

editor for WikiLeaks,

denies that the site

has put troops in danger.

Assange is clearly an advocate

and opponent of the war.

Assange made a name

for himself as a hacker,

and was arrested

for computer crimes

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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