This part of the film gives us a sense of how reporters and editors talk and what kinds of power games get played behind the scenes, but even these conversations feel a tad constrained by the camera's presence: Both of the women who work on the media desk, for instance, declined to be part of the project.
As close as the film gets to having a winning and charismatic central figure is reporter/columnist David Carr. An irascible iconoclast, Carr can be counted on to be funny and to the point when those around him are not.
Even when it is nominally concentrating on the media desk, "Page One" further dilutes its focus by the way it gets fascinated by each story the team does; CNN's affiliation with Vice magazine, Comcast's buying of NBC, and the crescendo of stories from the folks at WikiLeaks come off more like independent mini-segments than episodes in the broader picture of how the Times covers the world.
For readers of this newspaper, owned by the Tribune Company, "Page One" has a special poignancy and impact. Carr's front-page story on the moral fecklessness of Tribune management preceded a corporate shakeup and the resignation of CEO Randy Michaels.
Eavesdropping as Carr cracks wise and masterfully works the phone with sources and Tribune flacks is worth the price of admission. Too bad the rest of the film is not in this class.
"Page One: Inside the New York Times"
Grade: 2 1/2 out of 4 stars
Running Time:91 min
MPAA Rating: R