Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Evolution and Big Media 

Wednesday, Jun 29 2011
Nobody cries, "Stop the presses!" in Andrew Rossi's Page One: Inside the New York Times; no one would dare. There's a palpable fear that it could actually happen. Are we living in the end times? Newspaper ad revenues have collapsed. Dailies are dying all over America. The New York Times could be the last of its breed. What would happen if it, too, expired? Does evolution work? Will the noble brontosaurus give way to HuffPo, Gawker, and all the other scampering little rodents of the Internet? Part vérité, part infomercial, Page One is less about the end of print journalism than the birth of some newfangled cyborg—indeed, with its blatantly self-reflexive approach and emphasis on personality, it's part of the process. Where there once was Daniel Ellsberg, now there is Julian Assange . . . and David Carr. Shooting solo over a 14-month period, Rossi found his story at the Times' media desk, focusing on three media reporters: Carr (covering the Tribune bankruptcy and promoting the Times), Tim Arango (eager to change his beat for something less meta), and the former teen blogger Brian Stelter (described by Carr as "a robot assembled in the [Times] basement to come and destroy me"), plus their editor Bruce Headlam. Page One's greatest achievement may be to have turned the Times saga into an ongoing reality show. As the movie ends, we learn that Arango has decamped for Iraq (eventually to become bureau chief) and Stelter has dropped 90 pounds—while blogging about it.
July 1-7, 2011

About The Author

J. Hoberman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"