page1Gray Lady Still Afloat


Page One: Inside The New York Times
Interviewed: David Carr, Brian Stelter, Tim Arango, Bill Keller, Bruce Headlam and Sarah Ellison Director: Andrew Rossi
Scriptwriters: Kate Novack and Andrew Rossi
Composer: Paul Brill
Magnolia Films
Rating: R for language
Running Length: 88 Minutes
Called “The Gray Lady” for stately elegance, the New York Times has lasted and lasted through years of newspaper coverage in the U.S.  However, time passes and not always favorably, so it is that in the past decade newspapers have been bought, sold, re-bought, re-sold and closed. Reasons being they operate on a non-renewable product (paper), salaries and the advent of the Internet, which is what I will be using after I write this review. 
Director Andrew Rossi’s film, Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times follows the inner workings of this newspaper as publishers and editors try to find ways to financially stay afloat (advertising) and still do what the Times has always done--- first class news. We see reporters doing careful interviews and checking sources. So how did the matter of Jason Blair and plagiarism go unchecked? We don't live in a perfect world and the red pencil doesn't have eyes of its own.
Beginning in 2009, the Times had a drop of 30% in advertising revenue and 100 lay-offs. The term “Turn in your tablets,“ means you are out the door. Lay-offs have continued and we see how major news people are moved from location to location for maximum coverage.  Mainly, the story of the Times is told through David Carr, a reporter with soft voice, who came through the ranks from the Minneapolis Tribune and a troubled personal life, to work in New York City.  How the electronic age has changed news work is shown when Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers were news and information was delivered by hand. The entire story was 22 months from start to finish. Now, it is instant news coverage with Facebook, cell phone and Twitter. David Carr relaxes with his phone and computer, while another Times writer, Brian Stelter, has a blog, two computers, Twitter and phone at the same time.
Wiki-Leaks had some information printed in the Times, along with European papers such as The Guardian and Das Spiegel. This brought attention to the Times. Though at one time, Internet news with the Times was free, the paper now charges for online information.
Having worked in newspapers a great part of my life, I thought this documentary, showing the inner workings of news coverage, was well done, though the dialogue of some being interviewed wasn't always clear. The New York Times may be called The Gray Lady, but few women are shown in this documentary, especially their new editor, Jill Abramson. The section of Carr’s coverage of the downfall of the Minneapolis Tribune is poignant for people in the Midwest. One hopes that the term “Stop The Presses,” will never happen to any newspaper, and who can forget the opening scene of  “Lou Grant” that showed the beginning of the paper to dropping it off at a home. Press coverage and newspapers here still mean  freedom is at work
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner