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“Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times” 4/5 Pitchforks Staring: David Carr Rated: R Released June 24, 2011

When you are at the top, there is nowhere else to go but down – or so the saying goes at least. In the case of The New York Times, the fall from grace has been anticipated (and encouraged) by many.

Much to their chagrin, however, The New York Times remains, and with the new documentary “Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times,” which had a limited opening nationwide on July 24, it is clear that The New York Times has no intentions of falling to the same fate as so many other newspapers in this, the digital age.

What the film does, outside of showing the behind-the-scenes on-goings of a major newspaper, is manage to ask, answer (in some fashion) and debate the future of newspaper print journalism with the influx of various online and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

At the core of the debate, like with anything really, is money. Along with that, and arguably more important, is the integrity of the position and title of “journalist.” With the ever increasing number of “on-line news sources” and subsequent “readers” that log-in for, at the least, a mere headline, it would appear that the days and need for newspapers is long passed fleeting.

Enter David Carr, a reporter for The New York Times Media Department. Carr immediately hypnotizes the audience with his brash, cigarette worn voice of reason as one who respected the craft of honest reporting long before everyone and anyone with a “smart phone” could play the part of “reporter” in their own little way.

Carr shows through a variety of different public speaking venues that, without newspapers, without reporters who seek out and uncover stories completely, online sources have little to “copy and paste.”

In one scene he shows a printed out screen image of one such online media outlet, pausing (briefly) to praise them for their own page layout before showing what it would look like if they hadn’t stolen – or “linked” themselves to a story previously reported by none-other-than an actual reporter. What he shows is, essentially, a blank page.

There is of course no debating the power the Internet and its reach across the world. There is however an argument to be made over whether or not more is actually better.

Where there are some agencies actually performing the diligent task of reporting the facts, many fall victim to the same faults they accuse The New York Times of – reporting with a bias, or hidden agenda. In fact, some openly admit that what they are doing is just that, reporting what they want, and how.

Where The New York Times has taken the steps needed to ensure something of a future for their staff and dedicated readers, only time will tell if it is in fact enough to weather the storm. Sadly, in an age where far too many people believe that everything should be “free,” it is hard to say how much of the storm has passed, and how much more remains.

The truth is out there, and reporters are the ones bringing it to you. The question put before us now is whether or not you want to pay for the most accurate level of reporting, be it the Times or your own local paper, or if a “tweet” from someone is enough.

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