If you are looking for a reason to make sure newspapers remain a vital part of our society, see the 2009 film “State of Play” starring Russell Crowe.
True, it is a political thriller and mystery, but it is first a movie about the editorial structure of a newspaper.
In all the 90 years or so of Hollywood, you can probably count the really good movies about newspapers on a hand and a half. My favorite was the 1952 Humphrey Bogart film, “Deadline — USA.”
“State of Play is close to this one.
It is about a big city newspaper called the Washington Globe (shades of The Washington Post). Investigative reporter, Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) and newspaper blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) investigate murders and the role of a private defense contractor.
It also is about the relationships reporters have with their sources, including that of McAffrey to Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck). Without giving too much away, the three areas are intertwined.
Aside from private contractors, the film goes to the heart of newspapers. It is about providing news on real paper. It is about holding stories on deadline until they are factually correct, the ethics of the newspaper and reporters, the role of corporate ownership in 21st century newspapering and the realization the only credible news gathering organizations we have are newspapers.
Whether you like newspapers or not no other media has ever had the credibility as well the gathering of news ability as the newspaper does. That is why it is called the fourth estate.
Love us or hate us, if some day newspapers are gone, this will be a far poorer society and a much weaker nation.
See “State of Play.”