Appreciate The Newsroom
If you’ve been following my blog posts on Page Burner (www.newsreview.com/pageburner), you’d be the first. So, thanks.
But you’ll also know that I am a huge fan of HBO’s The Newsroom, created by (in)famous screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. You’ll also note that my fellow writers, while not raving fangirls like myself, love to dissect the drama and what it says about their industry. I’d like to step back from that microanalysis and explain why I appreciate the show as a whole.
The plot, if you’re unfamiliar, revolves around fictional cable news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and his “News Night” production team. The group “covers” major stories from recent history, with episodes chronicling the hardships of delivering quality coverage in an unstable industry.
Much of the show’s criticism targets Sorkin, of The West Wing and The Social Network fame, and his tendency to create “high-horsed drama.” Critics view his characters’ long-winded, fact-filled rants as conduits for his own perspective.
The thing is, I agree with him.
I don’t see merit in criticizing Sorkin for his idealistic portrayal of journalists and their importance in an informed democracy—especially from journalists themselves. After all, idealism runs red in our blood; if it didn’t, we probably couldn’t brave the stresses of our occupations.
Thomas Jefferson said he would rather have newspapers without government than a government without newspapers. As much as the rancor of our industry may have jaded us, an informed public remains the cornerstone of a free and equal democracy.
And while things have rarely looked cloudier for journalists, modern technology has given us more ways to communicate than ever before.
The Newsroom allows us to have this dialogue. The fact that Sorkin can create real entertainment out of a subject many Americans disregard and broadcast on the same network as Game of Thrones is a blessing to journalists everywhere. Regardless of our opinion of the show’s entertainment value, when we discuss it, we’re discussing the news. Concurrently, Americans become a little more informed, a little more curious and, perhaps, a little more impassioned regarding the role news plays in their lives.