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I was interviewing David Carr of the New York Times and Page One director Andrew Rossi yesterday for one of the video portrait pieces that Jamie Stuart and I are doing at Sundance. I hadn't seen the film yet, and I wasn't going to pretend I had, so I asked Carr what he thought about the press demands of Park City - the fact that we're all sleep-deprived and trying to balance our desire to process films and business trends with the need to post quickie tweets and updates that will, like sugar fixes, spike our online traffic. Carr commiserated. He told me that he posted a funny and popular tweet about seeing the subject of Buck on Main Street but then had to question his happiness at all the retweets he received. It was a theme he would return to that evening in the Q&A for Rossi's film, which is behind-the-scenes look at the New York Times during 12 pivotal months crossing 2009 and 2010. "If all you do is file and file on all these different platforms, you lose your ability to think long thoughts," he said from the stage.

For those of us in this profession, the most thrilling moments in Page One are those involving the creation of long-form journalism. While Rossi's film details the business challenges faced by the Grey Lady - the collapsed ad market and migration of paying subscribers to free online news - it remains focused on the news gatherers, writers and editors. New-media evangelists Clay Shirky and Michael Wolff are on hand to throw spitballs, but Rossi lets his journalist subjects (there are no ad directors or circulation managers in his film) argue for the benefits of old-school media by example. Indeed, what I as a journalist came away envious of were the scenes of contemplation and reasoned group decision-making. The film deals with the web, the arrival of the iPad, and importing of new talent from the blogosphere, but it's the interweaving story lines of the Tribune Company bankruptcy, the Times' relationship with Wikileaks, and a decision whether or not to cover a questionable "mission accomplished" moment in the post-Iraq War that demonstrate the value of something more than what Arianna Huffington extols in the film as a journalistic economy of links and sharing.

Of course, I'm writing this as someone who is tweeting a lot, updating our Facebook group, and encouraging our writers to post short funny stuff as well as the longer interviews and think pieces we are more associated with. Indeed, as I left the theater and got on the bus to go to the Cinetic party which was so overcrowded I couldn't get in, I imagined instead that I was heading to some giant Park City newsroom, where all of us journos here were gathered around that impossibly enormous table in the impossibly gorgeous editor's conference room from Rossi's film. We'd be sifting through the trends, filtering out the noise, ignoring stories that are purely publicist hype (as you see happen in Page One). We'd be productively arguing, passing our stories around, making each other's prose smoother. How much was that deal really? Why did these two companies partner? Why is this one company buying so much? The other so little? And what do the production models on display here say about the state of our business? We'd be doing it together, not by ourselves tweeting from a shuttle bus (or, post-festival, at home in our pajamas). Too romantic a vision? Maybe. Probably. But fun - and maybe necessary - to think about.

Scott Macaulay

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In the blog, Alicia Van Couvering looks at The Next Gen Crisis of Indie Film; we continue our volunteer profiles, co-produced by Kenneth Cole; and we recap the 7 Fresh Faces in Film party (pictured left).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.


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Lance Weiler talks about his new interactive project, Pandemic. see video

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