The Paper is a 90-minute documentary film exploring the pressures and challenges of modern journalism as faced by the staff of a university newspaper embroiled in controversy. Taking viewers inside the Daily Collegian, Pennsylvania State University’s award-winning, 20,000-circulation newspaper, the film offers an in-depth look at the journalists of tomorrow. Since the events of September 11, 2001, there has been a call to reevaluate the Fourth Estate and to examine salient media issues such as lack of access to public officials, the quality of investigative reporting, and dropping circulation. The Paper addresses these questions by providing an intimate, analytical look at the way future journalists are being prepared for their careers, and how they are applying their newfound knowledge.
Published since 1887, Penn State’s the Daily Collegian—an independent newspaper supported solely by advertising revenues—is consistently ranked one of the best college newspapers in the country. With a circulation that exceeds the populations of many small towns and a board of directors that includes former editors from the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today, it is a prestigious institution. But 2005 proved to be a challenging year for the Daily Collegian. At a time when the paper’s pages were filled with wide-ranging and controversial reports, the year’s biggest stories were about the Collegian’s own problems.
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