Bitching and moaning about the immensity of the newspaper of record, the way its cornucopia of offerings chewed into his writerly workday, the essayist Seymour Krim (who died in 1989) used to say, the New York Times made me.
How would he now navigate its terrain, both in gritty print and boundless cyberspace, had he lived to see our journalistic no man's land? How do many of us do it, fellow "near sighted cannoneers," a term Krim took from cosmic Walt Whitman to describe the newspapers' and reporters' mid-century identity forged in that time's new media, taking aim, as it were, living up to a "majestic ideal" in truth-telling?
Old fight. New battle in the Age of Blogs and Tweets.
The new documentary, Page One: Inside the New York Times, chronicles the transformation of the news media, as newspapers everywhere go bankrupt. The movie features, among others, the charismatic, often acerbic and brilliant David Carr, a visual train wreck of a man: You cannot avert your eyes. Like the paper, the venerable New York Times, for which he writes a column every Monday mediating the space between print and internet, he knows from surviving in adversity. He famously published a chapter from his memoir about his transformation, crack addict to reporter and single parent, in, where else, the New York Times.
On Monday night, the movie's premiere was the occasion of a dual celebration: the opening of Lincoln Center's new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, a two-screen facility the Film Society's Marion Masone dubbed a "film campus," as it sits just across the street from Lincoln Center's cinema venue, The Walter Reade Theater. Documentary filmmakers Barbara Kopple, Charles Ferguson, Andrew Jarecki, Robert Richter, 60 Minutes correspondents Morley Safer, Bob Simon, an assortment of guests: Brian Williams, Swoosie Kurtz, and Regis Philbin joined the Page One team, director Andrew Rossi, producer Kate Novack, and the film's players Carr, Brian Stelter, Bruce Headlam, Katrina vanden Heuvel, to continue the debate over journalism's future in the center's ample lobby and lounge.
When asked whether the newspaper's plight translates to television, Steve Kroft commented upon the similarities for newsmen on television in competition with cable for many years. 60 Minutes, fortunately, holds strong.
Page One will open Friday in New York on both of the center's screens. The film will also be showcased in East Hampton as part of the Hamptons International Film Festival Summerdocs series on July 22.
This post also appears on Gossip Central.