It’s good to see they’re still making newspaper movies

The release of State of Play, a new Hollywood film starring Russell Crowe as a newspaper journalist, has prompted comparison between newsrooms portrayed on film and the troubled newsrooms in Canada today.

Jay Stone of Canwest News Service writes:

State of Play, Russell Crowe plays a hard-hitting journalist who sets
out with his partner, Rachel McAdams, to solve a murder under the
direction of ruthless editor Helen Mirren. This is quite a cast and
quite an assignment. In today’s real newsrooms, the ruthless editor
would be trying to figure out how she’s going to cover four city
meetings with one reporter and a freelancer, and the murder
investigation would be assigned to a summer intern who would have to
fit it in around the annual strawberry picking feature…

Some day they’ll be making movies about hard-hitting bloggers who set
out to solve the case of how the Hollywood star got drunk and said
something stupid: anything as complex and time-consuming as the
Watergate investigation would have to be left to real investigative
reporters, like Jon Stewart.

The New York Times‘ reviewer wonders if the images of a news story making its way from a computer screen to newsprint (complete with plates set and presses “whirring”) “may look as quaint as engravings of stagecoaches and steam engines” in a few years time.

But as Stone says, “It’s good to see they’re still making newspaper movies.”

Times reviewer A.O. Scott writes:

“Those of us who work in the newspaper business are highly susceptible to the kind of sentimental view of our trade this movie offers, especially when the sentiment masquerades as tough-minded cynicism, which makes us go all dewy and reach for the bottle of rye we keep stashed in the bottom drawer of our battered metal desk. And anyone, in whatever field, who cherishes memories of “All the President’s Men” or “His Girl Friday” will smile when “State of Play,” directed by Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”), now and again hits the sweet spot of the genre.”