Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"You Create Your Own Access": A Glimpse at The Paper

Last night I happened to catch The Paper, an engaging new documentary by filmmaker Aaron Matthews. Now playing on PBS’s Independent Lens, The Paper covers a school year in the life of staff members of The Daily Collegian, the student newspaper of Penn State University. I haven’t been on campus in several years (I did my graduate work there), so returning virtually was fun, but I was most intrigued by the students themselves, the reporters and editors who somehow manage to put out a paper on a daily basis.

The film’s narrative follows the students’ efforts to reverse the paper’s dwindling circulation, the lowest in years. In striving to generate an interested readership, they confront the broader, basic questions of what to report and how to report it, struggling to balance coverage of the big “events” with the significant issues on campus, such as persistent homophobia, sexual assault, and the cones of silence apparently enveloping the football team and the school’s administration.

I was struck by the students’ sheer competence. These are journalists in the making, and it was exciting to witness them in action. They were diligent and articulate, concerned and passionate, sometimes overwhelmed and worn out, but ultimately persistent in their pursuit of the story. I couldn’t help but pull for them and wish them the best as they enter the work force.

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Blogger fudgelady said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this show! As a former weekly-paper reporter, I'll have to check it out.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

I wrote for a weekly paper in college and that was almost too much for me. I can't even imagine doing this stuff daily.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous JIM said...

Hope for the future........HO........ Jim From Maine

12:05 AM  

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