Journalism movies, the best

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January 13, 2019 by jacklovelace

A journalism film series underway in Denver had the usual suspects for showing, and a lot of them are also really good choices.

They are: (my comments and suggestions for replacements are after the list)

The Fourth Estate – In Film + Conversation

Overview

In 2019, the Denver Film Society will present a series of films and talks examining the state of journalism, as it intersects with changing business models, social power structures, modern technology, and governmental shifts. Join us for this unprecedented series as we screen the best in journalistic cinema, and invite industry leaders of Colorado and beyond for post-film conversations to address some of the most pressing issues facing the Fourth Estate today.

Select Saturday afternoons at 1pm, January – June 2019

Regular prices for all films/events: $7.00 for DFS members / $11.50 for non-members

Films in Program…

The Fourth Estate: The Post

The Fourth Estate: The Post

Saturday, January 12th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! This Academy Award-nominated biopic tells the true story of a cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents and the one newpaper to pull away the veil of secrecy.

USA2017116 Min

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The Fourth Estate: Good Night, And Good Luck

The Fourth Estate: Good Night, And Good Luck

Saturday, February 16th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! In the 1950s no one exploited the fears of Communism more than Senator Joseph McCarthy until CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow took a stand.

USA200593 Min

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The Fourth Estate: The Paper

The Fourth Estate: The Paper

Saturday, March 16th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! When a hot story lands in his lap, the life of a fictional New York City tabloid editor (Michael Keaton) gets infinitely more complicated.

USA1994112 Min

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The Fourth Estate: The Front Page

The Fourth Estate: The Front Page

Saturday, April 27th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! In this Billy Wilder comedy classic, a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his ace reporter from retiring just as an escaped death row convict shows up to plead his innocence.

USA1974105 Min

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The Fourth Estate: All The President's Men

The Fourth Estate: All The President’s Men

Saturday, May 11th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! In this hallmark of journalism-based films, The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that ultimately lead to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

USA1976136 Min

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The Fourth Estate: Spotlight

The Fourth Estate: Spotlight

Saturday, May 25th at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! When The Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels.

USA2015129 Min

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The Fourth Estate: His Girl Friday

The Fourth Estate: His Girl Friday

Saturday, June 22nd at 1pm at the Sie FilmCenter! Howard Hawkes casts Cary Grant as a scheming editor who must try to keep his ex-wife and star reporter (Rosalind Russell) from quitting her job and marrying another man, all while a hot story about a man on death row unfolds before them.

 I used to show journalism movie scenes and whole journalism movies to my journalism classes. Over a decade or more I added and subtracted but I developed a pretty good idea of what worked and didn’t work with students.
As for the film society seven movies:
The Post is a good recent one to show. I did appreciate how it didn’t ignore the incredibly cozy relationship between the people who ran the paper and the people in power in Washington.
Good Night and Good Luck tells a true story about Murrow and CBS at their finest hour. It wouldn’t make my top 7 but I wouldn’t take it out.
I loved The Paper. It captured the skeptical, camaraderie of a newsroom in those good old days and how the process worked, sloppy and good.
I would leave out The Front Page and His Girl Friday because my students would have been too distracted by how dated they are.
All The President’s Men can still work as a this is how it worked illustrative tale.
Spotlight is another recent one that works, and again I appreciate how they don’t gloss over the unholy closeness of the Boston Globe and the power structure of Boston.
So, I would replace the two oldest movies with:
Nothing But Truth: Often ignored, it is a juicy story about protecting sources.
It led to a lot of discussion.
Absence of Malice. Frankly, it still remains at the top of my list. It covers
so much of how journalism can be done badly, it is as jaw dropping as they come.
I would also probably replace the Murrow movie with Shattered Glass, about the reporter who made up story after story before he finally got caught.
As an aside, if you want an illustration of how or how not to do an interview,
outside of President’s Men, Frost/Nixon has some really good stuff at the climax.
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