Andrew Rossi’s Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times made its Los Angeles 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.
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: David Carr tearing the editors of Vice a new one during a salty 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 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’s leveraged buyout debacle is given heavy play in the film, ostensibly through 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, Carr, the undisputed star of the film, was in attendance for a panel discussion. He was joined by his L.A. Times counterpart James Rainey and moderator Pete Hammond. The talk was not without its highlights, most notably Carr asking Hammond if his dear auntie was still a New York Times reader. When told that, sadly, she had passed, Carr didn’t miss a beat: “That’s another huge business problem for us.”