Another film review? Well i did explain in my introductory post that I’m an avid film enthusiast ^_^ As part of our uni task this week, we were assigned to watch the film ‘Shattered Glass’ directed by Billy Ray in 2003. And for once, this was homework that i DID NOT procrastinate and leave to the last minute…i mean how many students can say that watching a movie is considered homework?
Anyway, the film follows the true life story (as soon as i see those words i automatically get fired up with excitement. Truth and real life event based stories are so much more fascinating to delve into) of Stephen Glass, a young journalist with more ambition and creativity he can chew. He is a reporter for the ‘New Republic’; a magazine company renowned for it’s political awareness and credible news sources. However, we find out that something doesn’t really add up with Stephen’s colourful stories that he is producing week out. He is an entertaining story-teller who manages to find the best sources and quotes concerning major business and governmental corporations, ‘I want a play boy magazine subscription… Show me the money, show me the money!’ he cries out scornfully as he reads a quote from his latest research.
His new editor Charles Lane finds it awfully suspicious, especially after discovering that one of his sources were not credible yet dismisses it as a careless error. I don’t want to give the story away, but the film takes you on a journey that makes you feel almost sympathetic for Stephen (and his doe blue eyes doesn’t make things any easier), stating ‘i only wanted to entertain you guys’.
What i learnt from the film, naturally, is to make sure that i actually have real people, real sources, real quotes, but above all, to ensure that every piece of information i write during my journalistic career are COLD HARD FACTS. However, it also taught me an important lesson that opened my eyes to this writing realm; entertainment plays a crucial if not formidable role as writers and reporters. Stephen’s ludicrous fabrications were a sign of his extreme desperations to fit in within his society. His fellow writers and editors marvelled and admired his works and listened eagerly as he told them these brilliant story-tellings. This, accompanied by our tutu’s activity task this week made me realise the harsh reality of individual’s moral compasses and how it impacts a person and their choices.
During my journalism tutorial today, we did an activity where we were asked if we agreed or disagreed with the following questions that had to do with ethics within journalism. ‘Would you be willing to pay your source if he provided you with a quote?’ and ‘would you release an off the record quote if that person did something bad?’ were some of the many controversial questions that questioned one’s integrity and ethical beliefs. This automatically led to a heated debate/discussion as to what is considered ‘newsworthy’ to write about; scandals concerning reputable members of society e.g. would you write a story about a politician found in a gay strip club? to which many students stated ‘no as it was none of their business’. On the other hand, there were a few stating that this is what makes the people read your work. Your job as journalists isn’t to consider (to an extent) if it would disrupt a person’s reputation, it is to write something that people will read. And I was part of this minority.
What I want to do once i graduate is become a journalist/editor in the fashion and beauty realm, and these scandals if you would like to call it would be something I will be surrounding myself with. My belief is this; people will always have differing interests, beliefs and what they consider as moral or ethical or just. However, not everyone is willing to read about political events or global issues and there has to be some disparity between news content and entertainment. I am definitely more supportive of the latter. And that entails unfortunately breaking some boundaries and revealing information that many will find ‘unwarranted’ to write about. And that’s okay. However, of course if i was to find something that could potentially ruin a career or inflict a person’s safety then definitely not, that would be something I would either report to the police or a system that can help. My moral compass is just a tad less lower than those belonging to politics or for example international affairs. Because at the end of the day, I believe that, the crux of journalism is writing something that makes people read. Being informed of course is equally as significant, however, it concerns more relating to a specified category of journalism. The entertainment industry goes under a shelter where interest and curiosity are regarded higher than facts and figures.
My first assignment is due this Monday at 5pm where we have to write about a new newsworthy report in our local suburb. I’ve found a very interesting storyline, although i just need to ensure that it’s credible. Tomorrow and Friday I will be venturing out into the open (literally) and interviewing parents, local residents and hopefully members of the council committee to attain 4 sources. Putting my practical journalistic uses to work is something I am so nervous about as we literally are only 4 weeks into uni and we’re flown straight into the bottomless pit of independence and scrutiny. I will write more about how it goes in later posts. As for now, I’m going to spent the remaining of the night munching on seaweed and catching up on Dance Moms ^_^