I'm not much of a movie buff, but documentaries are a different story. Stories based on fact have always held my attention so much better than Batman or Transformers ever could have. I recently watched Page One: Inside the New York Times. Focused on the dying newspaper industry and its forced transition to digital media, it grabbed my attention and didn't let go.
One of my journalism professors once told me that local news will be around forever, while large-scale news media will continue to falter until a profitable solution is found for the digital switchover. The past few years have been especially rough on larger national news publications, as the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and Philadelphia Inquirer (among other) have all filed for bankruptcy protection.
Page One investigates several aspects of new media, from Twitter's role in breaking news to the effect of iPads and tablets on print media. This documentary does a great job illustrating the massive concern of journalists in today's changing industry, evidenced by giving a close look at the day roughly 100 New York Times employees were laid off from massive budget cuts.
One writer who seems to have strapped his night vision goggles to peer through the nebulous haze of print media is columnist David Carr (@carr2n). Carr speaks at length about his former cocaine addiction that landed him in prison, and how his transition from recovering addict to esteemed columnist for arguably the world's most recognizable newspaper affects his viewpoint on the matter at hand. At a time when so many journalists are ripping their hair out, wondering if they will have a place to work in the coming months, Carr realizes that we need the past to continue improving the future.
"This is nothing. I've been a single parent on welfare. This is nothing." -- David Carr on the New York Times layoffs
Page One is serious, analytical, and exciting. You want to be in the newsroom while you watch this. While the New York Times is implementing a paywall on their content, we're left with this question: why pay for information that can be found for free somewhere else?
Next time you have 90 minutes free, check out Page One. I guarantee you'll walk away with a new perspective on the news industry.