Review of Page One: Inside the New York Times

Review of Page One: Inside the New York Times directed by Andrew Rossi
Rating ****

This documentary looks at the impact digital media has had on the moribund print media. It’s also an inside look at the New York Times. The biggest question raised by the film is whether or not the New York Times can survive going forward. With major newspapers failing and more advertising dollars moving away from print, what does the future hold for the Times?

The film makes many valid points about the importance of an institution like the New York Times. It also treats the story fairly by pointing out failures like the lack of investigative reporting leading up to the Iraq war and the rogue Times reporter who falsified many of his stories. The bottom line is that while the Internet has become a great aggrandizer of information, you still need someone to go out in the field and find the stories that others aggregate.

The film touches on the impact of the online version of the Times as well as the impact the iPad may have on keeping the Times afloat. I’ve been reading USA Today on my iPad for several months and I haven’t purchased a print copy since. As of right now, the iPad version of USA Today is free. I don’t know how they do it, because the iPad version has very few ads. My feeling is that the Times and other major newspapers will survive as long as they are willing to adapt to the new technology.

One story that was told briefly told in the film was the bankruptcy of the Tribune company. This story of how a group of non print media executives took over the Tribune and then looted it of hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses deserves its own documentary. That is a story I want to learn more of.

This is certainly a film I would recommend.

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