By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin June 18, 2011 at 4:30AM
If you’re expecting a prosaic documentary spotlighting a group of editors in ties sitting around a conference table, debating what’s worth putting on the front page of the country’s leading newspaper, you’re in for a surprise. Andrew Rossi’s vibrant film hones in on a handful of colorful figures on the Times staff in order to personalize the story and give it focus. By profiling them and their work he provides a razor-sharp picture of how a story is generated, reported, edited, and showcased in print.
He also deals with the larger issues facing not just the Times but—
—every newspaper, including shrinking circulation and ad revenue, competition from online sources (many of which take their material from the Times and other old-media outlets), and the unpleasant reality of having to trim the staff and run a leaner operation.
Page One pulses with life, whether we’re spending time with the eccentric reporter David Carr working his sources, Timothy Arango deciding to move to Baghdad, or former blogger Brian Stelter who manipulates new media within the confines of the Gray Lady’s offices.
One of the questions that reporters and editors ask themselves, and others, throughout the film is whether or not newspapers—and in particular, The New York Times—still matter. This exciting, relevant film illustrates why the answer is yes, and why old-school reporting is still exciting to watch in action.