Last week the first year Creative Communications students went to see a documentary called Page One: Inside the New York Times. The film was an incredible insight into what life as a journalist is like. The pressures of deadlines, finding the right stories, how to ethically present those stories, staying on top of social media and how important our daily papers are. These are just a few issues that Page One touches on in 88 minutes.
I really want to go see this film again since I think there's so much more that can be picked up on. I don't think we give journalists enough appreciation for what they do for us. In the movie the point was made that after the Internet, people started to believe that the news was free. Yes, it's true, most didn't need to buy papers anymore since it was all accessible online in a way never thought possible before. But in reality it is not. The money to cover these stories is important, because transportation, wages for our journalists and so many other things need to be taken into consideration in order to figure out if news it really free or not. Page One does an excellent job of making the audience think about these issues and why a Paywall makes sense for newspapers to use.
It will be interesting to see if other papers, even our own Winnipeg Free Press or Winnipeg Sun, use these formats in the future. These groups, just like most others, will probably wait to see how it works out for the New York Times first, in order to determine if it's a good move or not.
You've got to respect the guts of the Times to try a move like that. But then again, that's what they're known for.