Andrew Rossi‘s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times made its LA Film Festival debut last night and did not disappoint. The film really should have been called “A Year At the Media Section of the New York Times,” but we digress. It was great. The collapse of the newspaper business model, online competition from aggregators like Newser and click hunters like Nick Denton‘s Gawker network, and the challenges of no longer being informational gatekeepers are all discussed at length. No real surprises for anyone who works in the journalism world, but a nice primer for those outside the business.
Journos are bound to have their favorite moments in the film. Two immediately come to mind: Carr tearing the editors of Vice a new asshole during a salty (to put it mildly) interview, and media editor Bruce Headlam somehow managing to give an interview to Rossi, make last minute edits to a huge front-page WikiLeaks story and answer his phone all at the same time. Headlum’s not the star of the film, but there can’t be a journalist in America who saw that guy in action and wouldn’t kill to have him as an editor.
The Tribune Company-leveraged-buyout-debacle is given heavy play in the film, ostensibly through David Carr’s famous “frat house” piece which detailed widespread sexual harassment at the company under its new corporate ownership. Arguably our favorite moment of the night: a giant round of applause from the audience when, in the wake of Carr’s story, news of Randy Michaels firing flashes across the screen.
After the screening, the undisputed star of the film himself, David Carr, was in attendance for a panel discussion–joined by his LA Times counterpart James “Jim” Rainey, and moderated by Deadline’s Pete Hammond. The talk was not without its highlights, most notably Carr asking Hammond if his dear auntie was still a NYT reader. When told that, sadly, she had passed, Carr didn’t miss a beat: “that’s another huge business problem for us.”
Overall a great night–the kind that could easily persuade young “print is over” digital fetishists that newspapers are pretty fucking cool after all.
Rossi, incidentally, was just in the mediabistro studio for an interview with our own Donya Blaze. Take a peek.
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