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News / Clark County News

From the newsroom: Our reporters like these journalism films

By Craig Brown, Columbian Editor
Published: April 27, 2024, 6:08am
2 Photos
Wagner Moura and Kirsten Dunst in a scene from &ldquo;Civil War,&rdquo; a journalism movie now in local theaters.
Wagner Moura and Kirsten Dunst in a scene from “Civil War,” a journalism movie now in local theaters. (Murray Close/A24 via AP) Photo Gallery

I am not a movie buff, but I noticed a new journalism movie is playing in theaters and getting good reviews. The film is called “Civil War” and is described by the movie website Fandango like this:

“From filmmaker Alex Garland comes a journey across a dystopian future America, following a team of military-embedded journalists as they race against time to reach (Washington) D.C. before rebel factions descend upon the White House.”

It’s rated R and sounds pretty frightening, and potentially violent and bloody. That’s not usually my idea of entertainment, but I might go see it.

I don’t know if our reporters were talking about this movie, or if something else prompted them, but on Tuesday they created a list of their favorite journalism movies. Here’s their list, as compiled by business reporter Sarah Wolf. I haven’t seen all of these, so I used the website IMDB.com to find out more about the movies I missed.

  • “Network.” This 1976 film about TV network executives exploiting their deranged anchor is a classic. I need to re-watch.
  • “Good Night and Good Luck.” This was the tagline of famed CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow. The 2005 film from George Clooney explores how Murrow took to task Sen. Joseph McCarthy over his shameful behavior. A local angle: Murrow grew up in Skagit County, attended Washington State College, and had a long friendship with Clark College English professor Hermine Decker.
  • “Shattered Glass.” This one I haven’t seen, but I do remember the real-life scandal about a journalist who was fired over repeated fabrications in articles published by The New Republic.
  • “Bombshell.” This is the 2019 movie about sexism and unfair treatment of women at Fox News. I haven’t had a chance to see this one yet, but it is on my list.
  • “Zodiac.” Here’s how IMDB describes this film, released in 2007: “Between 1968 and 1983, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California.” This is the kind of movie I’ll probably pass up entirely.
  • “Fair Game.” This one stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. That’s enough reason to see it right there. It apparently has to do with the real-life story of Valerie Plame, who was outed as an undercover CIA operative following leaks by the George W. Bush administration.
  • “Almost Famous.” Much less serious, this movie released in 2000 involves a teenager invited to tour with a rock band and write a story for Rolling Stone. I liked it.
  • “Deadline U.S.A.” A 1952 black-and-white classic starring Humphrey Bogart. Enough said.
  • “The Paper.” For some reason I couldn’t drag myself to this one back when it came out in 1994 and I still haven’t gotten there. It follows a New York newspaper over 24 hours as its editors and reporters chase a scoop.
  • “All the President’s Men.” Yes, please! This long movie is all about Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and how they reported the Watergate scandal. It came out in 1976 and made everyone slightly older than me want to be a journalist, making my job prospects out of college uncertain. (Spoiler alert: I found one.)
  • “Spotlight.” My favorite recent journalism movie, about the Boston Globe team that reported on sexual abuse of children and subsequent cover-ups within the Catholic archdiocese. It won the Best Picture Oscar in 2016.

The rest of their list: “She Said,” “His Girl Friday,” “True Story,” “Broadcast News” and, proving that reporters do have a sense of humor, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”

Finally, let me add a personal favorite they forgot: “Absence of Malice,” starring Sally Field and Paul Newman.