“His Girl Friday” On a Tuesday

Clooney and Roberts.

Cokie and Steve Roberts agree: as journalists who are married and work together, the secret to their success is to “edit… gently.”

Both discussed Howard Hawks’ 1940 comedy “His Girl Friday” with Nick Clooney at Tuesday evening’s Reel Journalism Film Series, presented by American University’s School of Communication and the Newseum.

Illustrating the strains their hectic schedules must have on any journo couple– Cokie chatted in person, but Steve pre-taped the interview.

The film focuses on Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson and Cary Grant as Walter Burns– journos and former spouses fated to chase after the story and each other.

Steve Roberts recalled his first impression of the film was that it seemed– in some ways–to present an unrealistic or cartoonish view of journalism. Cokie Roberts said she respectfully disagreed with her husband, save for one factor. “What I find unbelieveable is her power as a female journalist in a 1940s newsroom,” she said. “We were told that women could not deliver the news because our voices were not authoritative enough.” Roberts followed up with the charge that women in their different roles – perhaps most notably as mothers – have always had authoritative voices.

The next Reel Journalism event will be a screening and discussion of “Absence of Malice” in January. And NBC’s Brian Williams is slated to be the guest.

Special thanks to Maggie Barrett.