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4 Movies All Aspiring Journalists Should Watch

It’s an exciting time for journalism. Ramped up attacks on the media from various outlets have prompted folks across the country to really consider the importance of good reporting. Having well-written, unbiased news outlets has always been vital, but it seems only now are people beginning to appreciate and fight for the work.

Moreover, we’re living through a time of changing media. While the slow fade-out of newspapers has led some to believe that journalism is becoming obsolete: what it actually signals is that journalism is evolving.

Multimedia reporting has become mainstream, and time will only tell where news will end up in the coming years. While us future reporters anxiously await our time to step into the field, we can take a moment to revisit the roots of journalism with these four movies that showcase some of the best (and worst) reporting stories of all time.

1. All the President’s Men 

All The President’s Men tells what is perhaps the most famous reporting story of all time. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the two reporters that broke the Watergate story. The same story that exposed the corruption of a presidential administration to such an extent that that president resigned.

Investigative reporting was never the same after the Watergate story took down Nixon. The film was made in the 70s, only a few years after the actual events unfolded. It stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

While it painstakingly shows the grunt work of reporting, like the endless phone calls and knocking on doors (most of them slammed shut in return), it somehow makes every rotary dial and punch of the typewriter keys feel exciting.

So if you’re looking to take a glimpse into the wonderful world of tan suits and banging typewriter keys, All The President’s Men is the movie for you! 

2. Spotlight 

This film is a little more recent, telling the famous tale of a Boston Globe Spotlight Team exposing corruption inside the Catholic Church.

It starts big names Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. It’s a little more fast-paced than All The President’s Men, but still accurately portrays all of the diligent work that went into the massive expose.

The journalists portrayed on screen, including Sasha Pfeiffer and Michael Rezendes, are still at work today. If you want a more current look at equally as important reporting, you should definitely give Spotlight a watch.

3. The Post

This story, like All The President’s Men, follows The Washington Post in its historic decision to continue printing The Pentagon Papers even after the government prohibited The New York Times from doing so.

It was a historic moment for journalism and showed the undeniable power of the freedom of the press. It also stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, which is a total bonus for movie buffs.

If you want to see the build-up to the work that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did, check out The Post.

4. Shattered Glass

While it’s important to witness the great work that journalists have done throughout the years, it’s equally important to watch journalists that don’t follow the rules of good reporting, and how they suffer for it.

Stephen Glass was a young reporter working for The New Republic who gained popularity through writing interesting and often shocking stories. The problem was, they were not true.

Glass was fabricating stories to gain popularity, and witnessing his mistakes and ultimate failure is heeding to all aspiring reporters: making up facts never ends well.

These four movies showcase some of the best and worst reporting stories of all time. It is interesting for all of those interested in journalism to see it portrayed through the medium of film. Get some popcorn and start watching! 

 

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Audrey Martin is a first-year student in the College of Communication at Boston University studying journalism.
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