“Page One” Director Andrew Rossi and Journalist Brian Stelter In Person This Weekend!

Posted by Michael Gibbons on 6.16.2011

Director Andrew Rossi. Photo by Godlis.

Page One: Inside the New York Times opens tomorrow at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, and we’re delighted to have director Andrew Rossi himself here to answer questions! He’ll be at the 6:40, 8:00 and 8:35pm screenings tomorrow (Friday), June 17.

On Saturday, June 18, we’ll have Brian Stelter, a reporter from The New York Times who is featured in the film, on-hand to answer audience questions after the 6:40, 8:00 and 8:35pm screenings. Tickets are on sale now!

Erica Abeel at Huffington Post already had a chance to discuss Page One with Rossi: “On a macro level the movie encourages people to become more empowered consumers of news and information. It's ultimately not just enough that it came from the Times. Everyone's got the ability to find documents online and not just accept information as if it were a thunderbolt coming down from the mountain from Zeus. The Times realizes that too.”

Aaron Sorkin talks to Times reporter David Carr for Interview: "The web is like a self-cleaning oven in that it will correct itself over time. The theory is that if you have lots of inputs of information, then the truth will gradually emerge from these thousands of points of light, and people will assemble from them an idea of the way things are. But my worry is that people will not do that, and instead gather what they need in order to reinforce their existing notions of the way things are, and there won’t be a civic common anymore where fact rules. I mean, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the facts are not up for grabs."

Here’s what critics are saying about Page One:

No matter how drastically the news-delivery model changes, anyone who cares about journalism needs to care about newspapers; and anyone who cares about newspapers needs to see Page One: Inside the New York Times. When Page One screened earlier this year at Sundance, some of the early reviews carped that it was less a behind-the-scenes look at the so-called paper of record than a snapshot of where the Times stands at this crucial juncture in digital-age journalism. I’ll take the snapshot: In piecing together the backstory of these past few rocky years at the Times, director Andrew Rossi focuses almost exclusively on the paper’s media desk, which was formed only recently — in 2008 — to cover all things media-related. Those things would include, of course, changes at the Times itself, among them painful newsroom layoffs and the necessity of getting and keeping the fractured attention of readers.
- Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline

Page One: Inside the New York Times, Andrew Rossi's oddly exciting documentary about the august and struggling flagship of American journalism, is a movie without an ending. How could it be otherwise? We don't know how it's going to end for the Times, for "old media," for the so-called profession of journalism (a recent and amorphous invention) or, for that matter, for our perishing republic. All signs point to No, as the Magic 8-Ball might put it. But whether you view Page One as an inspirational call to arms or a chronicle of the Last Flight of the Noble Pteranodon -- hey, why is the sky getting darker? -- it's full of juicy, chewy nuggets for journalists, journalist-haters and news junkies.
- Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Page One, a potent and provocative documentary from Andrew Rossi, looks at the carnage done to newsprint by the rise of the Internet, the plunging of ad revenues and circulation, and the firings that left blood on the walls of old media. Granted rare access for more than a year to the newspaper of record, the great Gray Lady called The New York Times, Rossi operates out of the media desk established in 2008. We see media editor Bruce Headlam confer with reporters, including new-media recruit Brian Stelter, Tim Arango and especially David Carr, the gravel-voiced ex-junkie whose attack approach ­backed up with scrupulous reporting ­makes him the hottest print poster boy since Woodward and Bernstein. No one in the Green Lantern Corps can match Carr¹s takedown of Vice magazine staffers who think they’re reporters, the hubris of Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell and CEO Randy Michaels, or even the iPad (“You know what this reminds me of? A newspaper”). Rossi lucked out by being around when Wikileaks whistle-blower Julian Assange brought the Times secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, recalling Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers to the Times in 1971. One difference, says executive editor Bill Keller: “Ellsberg needed us. Wikileaks doesn’t.” Rossi does tweak the Times for its arrogance and the internal-fraud scandals involving Jayson Blair and Judith Miller. But seeing the Times enter a future geared to compromise its standards is scarier than any horror film. For those of us who read ­on smudgy paper or a battery-powered screen ­Page One is a vital, indispensable hell-raiser.
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

At the core of Page One is a tension between two equally aggressive journalists from different generations of the business. The ever-versatile David Carr, a former drug addict whose harsh backstory appears to inform his staunchly confrontational technique, conveys the image of an old-school muckraker always on the brink of the next big scoop. At the other end of the spectrum, the much younger Brian Stelter—hired after his TVNewser blog gained national attention while he was still in college—epitomizes the model of a new-media journalist, capable of picking up the phone and delivering a timely tweet in the glorious harmony of a trained multitasker.
- Eric Kohn, indieWIRE

"We need institutions," a subject argues in Page One: Inside the New York Times, and it's a position also held by director Andrew Rossi's fleet, timely assessment of the ongoing crisis in journalism. Handily synthesizing more than a year's worth of stories and setbacks at America's paper of record, this efficiently assembled primer hardly counts as a revelatory dispatch from the old-vs.-new-media frontlines, but its ideas will engross anyone for whom the viability of traditional newsgathering remains a matter of pressing significance.
- Justin Chang, Variety

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