A Fragile Trust:  Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times

USA, 2013, 76 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: African-American, Biographical, Documentary, Drama
Program: Documentary
Language: English

Who: Jayson Blair, intermediate reporter . What: Plagiarism/mass errors . When: Early 2000s. Where: The New York Times. Why: That is what director Samantha Grant tries to get to the bottom of.

The “five W’s” of journalism are pretty clear-cut, yet for Jayson Blair the pressure of being a reporter for the prestigious New York Times was overwhelming. Blair tells his side of the story, including his addiction to alcohol, cocaine, and the high of a front-page byline.

During the early 2000s the Internet changed the way newspapers do business. Demand for quick stories escalated. Coverage of 9/11 kept New York correspondents without sleep and food for days on end. Blair found that covering up for his inability to do the job was easier than doing the basic reporting. He became one of the first “tragedies of the electronic age,” mastering the art of pretending to be where he was not. Blair would cut and paste bits from other people’s work, claiming he was in various locations as he wrote from his Brooklyn apartment. His remote reporting resulted in multiple factual errors that his superiors wrote off as ramifications of his substance abuse.

Without excusing Blair’s journalistically abominable behavior and nonexistent ethics, this documentary raises valid questions. Who is accountable? How could his plagiarism and poor reporting be overlooked, and why was he not fired at the first heinous offense? With the digital era now making information even more instantaneous and readily available, we as media consumers must become more savvy. Just because it’s out there does not necessarily mean it’s true.

In cooperation with MSU Denver - Department of Journalism and Technical Communication



For information on group rates and community partnerships please contact Dominic Smith at dominic@denverfilm.org

DIRECTOR: Samantha Grant
Producer: Samantha Grant
Editor: Richard Levien, Samantha Grant
Screenwriter: Samantha Grant, Richard Levien
Cinematographer: Singeli Agnew, Samantha Grant

You might also enjoy...

  • Caucus

    Caucus

    USA , 2013 , 104 min. AJ Schnack documents the competitive 2011-2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, featuring a full slate of candidates vying for the nomination to go up against President Obama. Viewers get a fly-on-the-wall look at the backroom strategizing, as well as the candidates’ public personas... more
  • Here Was Cuba

    Here Was Cuba

    Ireland , 2013 , 75 min. The world was almost annihilated in October 1962. This is not science fiction but the Cuban Missile Crisis, a history lesson that should not be forgotten because more countries today have these bombs and “there is no room for error with a nuclear weapon.”... more
  • Michael H., Profession: Director

    Michael H., Profession: Director

    France , 2013 , 93 min. Yves Montmayeur’s intimate portrait of the acclaimed and controversial filmmaker Michael Haneke offers exceptional insight into the Austrian’s searing body of work. Michael H. is must for fans of Caché, The White Ribbon, and this spring’s Oscar winner, Amour... more
  • Truth Has Fallen

    Truth Has Fallen

    USA , 2013 , 60 min. Impressionistic animation accompanies voice-over accounts of three Americans wrongfully incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Director and USC professor Shelia Sofian challenges the hubristic misconception that we have “the greatest justice system in the world.”... more
>>
August 2014
S M T W T F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

Today's Showtimes

Chef
1:50 PM
4:40 PM
7:10 PM
The One I Love
2:20 PM
7:20 PM
9:50 PM
Dwegons
4:00 PM
Snowpiercer
4:20 PM
9:40 PM
Patema Inverted
7:00 PM
Moebius
9:30 PM

Hot Tickets

Sign up for our FREE Email Newsletter

 

CLICK IMAGE for the Member Newsletter

CLICK IMAGE to Renew or Join
Membership Updates and Sign Up

CLICK IMAGE for Information

CLICK IMAGE for more information