The “New Journalism” and Final Assignment(s)

Journalism Students,

We are nearing the end of the semester and I want to thank you for your hard work and strong participation this semester. I will be reviewing your OpEds and posts this week and will get comments to all of you shortly.

In the meantime, let’s move forward with our on-going media forays.

To begin, I want to highlight a speech President Biden recently gave at the White House Correspondents’ annual Dinner.  President Trump refused to attend this annual event with Washington reporters during his time in office in part because he couldn’t handle ANY kind of criticism (or perceived disloyalty) and also because he does not value a free press, as he has openly stated.  During the dinner, Biden makes some great jokes at Trump’s expense but ends with a powerful statement of the importance of a free press in America and the world.

Over the last two weeks of the semester, I ask that you think (and read) about the bold practitioners of journalism throughout American history and today.  One of these is the recently passed Joan Didion. Didion was a strong feminist icon and skilled journalist known, since the 1960s, for her feature writing in a style dubbed the “New Journalism.” This style of writing combined journalistic research with the techniques of fiction writing in the reporting of stories about real-life events.

Here is a more formal definition of this genre:

“As in traditional investigative reporting, writers immersed themselves in their subjects, at times spending months in the field gathering facts through research, interviews, and observation. Their finished works were very different, however, from the feature stories typically published in newspapers and magazines of the time. Instead of employing traditional journalistic story structures and an institutional voice, they constructed well-developed characters, sustained dialogue, vivid scenes, and strong plotlines marked with dramatic tension. They also wrote in voices that were distinctly their own.”

For a sense of Didion’s writing style, read an early magazine article entitled

“On Self-Respect” (Vogue 1961)

Please also view a new documentary on her work and life:

“The Center Will Not Hold”


No post is due for this week, but, by Tues.. May 17th, I ask that you watch a film on the media (such as the one on Didion) and connect what you learned to some key ideas we’ve covered in class. You can consider your final post as your Final Exam. I look forward to hearing from you on this.

Here are your film choices (watch at least one):

  1. The recent film satire Don’t Look Up (on Netflix). (The film is a great critique of the media in all its forms and, in my view, VERY funny).  

2. The classic film Network (another media comedy with a serious lesson) . 

3. The Dissident (a dark but important film on the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi Government).

4. “The Center Will Not Hold”  (on Joan Didion)

5. Documentary on Putin critic Vladimir Nalvany

Here is a film trailer.

Here is help on where to watch the documentary.

Your final assignment (and post) will be to connect one of these films or documentaries to key ideas we’ve covered in class. You can consider your final post as your Final Exam.

I look forward to hearing from you (Post Due Date: Tues., May 17)


  1. Daniella Santangelo

    “Don’t look up” is a Netflix movie that uses humor and satire to show the effects of climate change while criticizing the media. I believe the movie is meant to be a metaphor for climate change. However, while dealing with this, the scientists have to deal with an indifferent audience that does not take them seriously. Therefore, this makes it a satirical science fiction movie.
    In the movie, two scientists discover the danger that earth faces from an attack by a comet about to crash into the earth (McKay, 2021). The scientists use the media to create awareness, which does not take them seriously. Instead of using this information to warn the people, they turn it into a political agenda that creates a rift in the country. There are two sides where one believes in the possibility of a comet crashing on earth while the other does not (McKay, 2021). I agree with the movie on how the media plays a major role in propagating any ideas. The movie shows that the media can play a major role in creating a division in the country when there are contradicting ideas competing against each other. In this movie, the media does not take the scientists seriously.
    The rift created by the media is enough to cost people’s lives as the government does not take the necessary measures to protect its people. Instead, the president was influenced by powerful businessmen who wanted to make profits from the situation. In the movie, the satire criticizes the media and shows that it should have been involved more to create more awareness and sensitization on the expected crush. This would have brought different results, and the government might have taken measures to protect its people.

    McKay, A. (2021). Don’t Look Up. Netflix.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent response Daniella. I really like your point how “the movie shows that the media can play a major role in creating a division in the country when there are contradicting ideas competing against each other.”

  2. Ines Bissat

    The first thing that strikes me in the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up” is the lack of consideration from president Orlean and her staff on the matter Dr. Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio)and Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) have. Humankind, basically every species on earth, will be extinct in 6 months and 14 days. The comet will hit the planet, and people will die. The problem with our media outlets is that they give too much importance to unnecessary matters, as shown in the movie where they reported on those two celebrities that broke up instead of talking about the comet that will destroy everything. This movie demonstrates the reality of things today. People are dying in Ukraine, and Russia keeps doing atrocious things to Ukraine and its people, but the media does not mention it often in the news or newspapers. Pieces of information are being kept a secret from the people. We are unaware of situations happening in the world because our “leaders” do not want us to be educated and speak against their tyranny. At the White House, Orlean did not bother to come and ask Kate and Dr. Mindy about the situation to start looking for a solution to stop the comet from becoming destructive. She was busy dealing with unnecessary things. When she was walking out of the office, Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) addressed her and tried to get her on board with the mission to stop the comet by using NASA’s advanced technology, but she completely ignored him and kept walking away. The staff made them wait for 7 hours and later told them to come another day. I am not even surprised by her behavior because our leaders react to important matters like that nowadays. They become ignorant no matter the efforts the citizens put into shading lights and spreading the words. For instance, if the situation does not affect them and their presidency, they will do everything possible for the news outlets not to report on it. The citizens are inferior and unimportant to them. Orlean and her staff were busy celebrating birthdays and talking about irrelevant subjects.

    I was also surprised by how President Orlean and the chief of staff took the news when Mindy and Kate spoke to them. She was taking this matter as a joke and expressed no concerns whatsoever. The chief of staff was there making fun of how Dr. Mindy was breathing when he was doing his best to deliver the news on the comet that could destroy the planet. They dare to say, “can we just call it a potentially significant event” they clearly state that it will 100% happen. They are treating this matter as a joke. Dr. Oglethorpe said to act now and get NASA on this issue, to stop this tragedy, but the president was too busy worrying about what it would cost her. Her best suggestion was to “sit tight and assess” to keep it quiet, so the press does not find out about it. Another example of how corrupt and ignorant the media is, is when Kate and Mindy went to the talk show called Wednesday np. They were there addressing the story, but the interviewer was making jokes about it and not giving it much importance. Kate was right when she said, “maybe the destruction of the entire planet is not supposed to be fun.” I completely agree with her because people’s lives are not a joke. Social media is helpful at a time, but most of the time, it’s toxic. After the interview, when Kate lost her cool because the interviewer minimized what they were saying, people started making horrible memes about her and treating her like she was on a drug and did not know what she was saying. These behaviors exist today where young people would make memes out of everything happening around them for view. One person that was the subject of these memes was Kanye West. I recalled when he broke down on stage crying because he had mental health issues, and the responses to his breakdown were horrible. There were memes of him on every social media platform. They portray him as a cry baby and a crazy person. Their response should have been to ask if he was ok and shed light on how mental health can affect someone negatively. They could have made his breakdown a learning experience for everyone, but instead, they decided to turn it into jokes. Mental health problems are nothing to joke about because people suffer from them. The media and the government are all corrupt. They kept lying to people about the truth. At the end of the movie, we saw the results of those lies, the comet hit the earth, and many people lost their lives. If President Orlean and the media had taken the time to listen and act upon what Kate and Mindy said, all these things would not have happened. They could have taken precautions earlier to prevent the comet from destroying the earth. I hope that in the future, the leaders will listen to the pleading of the people and act on it without questioning or joking about it.

    McKay, A. (2021). Don’t Look Up. Netflix.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very astute comments on this film and its connections to the media today, Ines.
      I really like your point that “The problem with our media outlets is that they give too much importance to unnecessary matters” as compared to serious issues like the present war in Ukraine.

  3. Nasrine Khalil

    The film that I decided to watch is Don’t Look Up which depicts the story of two scientists who discovered a comet that has the capacity to wipe out human existence and will arrive at earth in six months and fourteen days. Throughout the film, both scientists try to raise everyone’s attention to the crisis, however, many controversies began to arise as a result. After watching the film, I noticed many similarities to the teachings that we covered in class regarding journalism. For example, one major similarity is that the scientists were constantly trying to get the truth out to the public. It reminded me of “Elements of Journalism” where one basic job as a journalist is that one must tell the truth. For example, Dr. Mindy tells his wife who was complaining that he is too invested in the issue, that, “I gotta use my voice to get the truth out there, right”? I think that this describes a crucial role of a journalist and how they must use their voice to reach the public no matter the method. Dr. Mindy’s method was social media and he constantly was reaching out to the public which allowed him to gain a large group of followers.

    Another similarity that I noticed between what we covered in this course and the film, is the use of social media. Professor Anthony Adornato’s book, Mobile and Social Media Journalism explores the role of a journalist and what one must do in order to provide the public with the news that is needed but also keep them engaged. Adornato emphasizes social media and writes, “Journalism has shifted from a one-way to a two-way conversation that is redefining how journalists report and interact with the audience. Think of journalism as a conversation rather than a lecture. … Journalism as a conversation fosters interactivity between the audience and journalist”. I thought that this was relevant to the film because Dr. Mindy did take his concern about the crisis to social media to reach the public. Through this, the movement that gained attention was called the “Just Look Up” movement. This movement flooded social media pages and gained a lot of followers to raise awareness. This illustrates how social media was used and how for action to be taken, the scientists were using social media knowing that is the best way to reach the public. Andonato makes mentions how social media is crucial and it was evident in the film to see how much people were expressing their concern for the comet and even the rise of fake news that is surfacing on social media which is also another topic, we covered.

    We also covered in this class how those in power want to conceal the truth from the public. Using Russia and Ukraine as an example, how the Russian president began to threaten any journalist who dared to cover the war taking place, and what Russia was really doing to Ukraine. The president in the film acted in a similar manner. In order to counteract the movement, the president created a movement called, “Don’t Look Up” so that she may hide the truth from the public. I think this is a perfect example of how those who hold power in society want to hide the truth, knowing that if they do share the truth with the public, it brings those who hold power no benefit, and when this is done, it can only hurt society. This was shown when towards the end of the film the comet was able to be seen just by looking up to the sky. Dr. Mindy told them that he wasn’t lying and one person says in response, “they were lying to us”. in reference to the president who was lying. This further illustrates how damaging it can be for the public when the truth is hidden by those who wish to divert the public’s attention from the truth.

    • Mark Noonan

      Extremely insightful commentary connecting our readings to the film, Nasrine.
      You really clarify how difficult it is for journalists today to “get out the truth” when no one really seems to want to hear it — and the discmal fact that journalists sometimes get punished (or even killed) for trying.

      I think of the recent death of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in particular, who tried so hard to report on hard facts.

  4. michaelcalixto

    After watching “The Dissident”, I have seen some mind-changing, in-depth about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. This was a powerful statement, which felt more like a documentary than an OP-ED. The characteristics of an OP-ED video are here including a defined point: the lead up to Jamal’s murder; points of view such as Omar Abdulaziz (a friend of Jamal) and Hatice Cengiz (Jamal’s fiancee) interviews and has a clear point with a few subtopics about Jamal Khashoggi with his Twitter postings, journalism, and his personal life.
    The research for this movie shows how Jamal was murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate via Turkey’s police and the UN findings, the hacking software: Pegasus Spyware for every one cell phones including Jeff Bezos and the Flies army which is a group of people to monitor the SA people Twitter feed and suppression of the opposition (Guessing MBS does not want to buy Twitter Bots). The movie’s ending displays no justice for Jamal’s death: “To date, there have been no global sanctions or punishments against Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”, which calls for action to the reader.

    Points for the viewer about Jamal: the movie described Jamal as human like everyone else. Being a journalist in a suppressed country isn’t easy. Described as “journalists are the tools of the regime, who are supposed to only write magnificent things about the government and how wise the decisions are”, Jamal was under the government’s hand, he was the biggest insider. As stated in the movie, the Saudi government can “… control the local narratives. They can control the public.” Until Jamal saw what freedom looked like in the Arab Spring, he wanted to change. Saudi Arabia’s government was even attacking via social media by “Suppressing [Jamal’s] tweets” which does not let Jammal be heard. Social Media was not his best tool until he received help by the #beesarmy. Even though Jamal had one perspective against the government, his one-day broadcast was “Committed to the traditional rules of journalism which are objectivity, credibility, and neutrality” and that’s was journalism is about. Rest in peace, Jamal Khashoggi.

    Currently free on YouTube:

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent discussion of this important film Michael (and thanks for the free link)

      You do a fine job highlighting key points especially the powerful ending to the movie:

      “To date, there have been no global sanctions or punishments against Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

      This certainly “calls for action to the reader” but also is a reminder that money and power too often wins out against basic human justice. And how will this Ukraine war end … in the same apathetic way?

  5. Jenrry Loja

    When watching the film “The Dissident” it was interesting to notice the use of various media platforms such as Twitter, The News, etc. I can connect this film to all elements of Journalism as it is used to find out the person responsible for who murdered Jamal. In this film, there is a lot of fake news being used as the murderer uses the platform Twitter to send a variety of anonymous tweets to notify people in Saudi Arabia on what will be his next move and who will be his next victim. When sending tweets out to the public, the murderer sends clues to find out who did it or what will happen next. Most of the tweets were threats to kill more people which got the attention of everyone in Saudi Arabia with access to Twitter. Using all the elements of Journalism to find out who was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi will help reveal who did it.

    • Mark Noonan

      Great points Jenrry about the use of social media to try to get to the truth as well as the attempt by Saudia Arabia to spread “fake news” about Khashoggi’s death. Truly a sad tale, as you point out.

  6. Schear

    I chose to watch, “Don’t Look Up” on Netflix for this assignment. The movie is about two minor astronomers, Dr. Randall and Kate Dibiasky, who discovered that a giant comet will be approaching Earth very soon and that it will destroy it. Thus, all of human life will be extinct. They try to inform the media of this horrifying doom, but instead of taking the right measures for this matter, it is neglected. The key idea that we have discussed in class that I believe is connected to the movie is “Objectivity and the News.” The goal of the media should be to spread the truth and aware folks of what to be cautious of. Unfortunately, even after Dr.Randall and Kate try to broadcast this message throughout the world, they are dismissed. The government uses the information provided to them to create a diplomatic program, which gives birth to a clash amongst the population. The government and media both thrive on some kind of a crisis and when there isn’t any present, they will create it.
    In the movie, we see that when Dr. Randall and Kate are talking about the situation of the comet hitting the Earth to President Orlean, the camera is being zoomed into unnecessary objects like a purse, celebrity photographs etc. This clearly depicts how unsettled the president is in nature. It’s like the world ending holds the same amount of significance as the purse for President Orlean. Her behavior shows us the way leaders respond to crucial matters. They do not care about spreading real news, their main concern is to stop the news that will have a negative impact on them. The people of the country will be going above and beyond to make a matter be known, but will be shut down under the command of the higher ups. It is understood that they don’t want to make the effort themselves of supporting the truth, but stopping others from doing it is very sad.
    Another topic we have discussed in this course is, “Elements of Journalism,” which includes that the sole purpose of a journalist is to tell the truth. However, there will always be those who have the authority to hide the reality from the world. The example I will be using to explain my point will be of a Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh being shot by Israeli forces. The fact that she is known for covering human right abuses in the occupied Palestinian region, makes it even more obvious that there was someone who wanted her to stop this. The roles of Dr. Randall and Kate are similar to Shireen Abu Akleh, they are trying to make the world aware of the truth, but there are forces above them that will do everything in their power to hold it back.

    • Mark Noonan

      Fine post Schear. You’re exactly right to bring up the death of the amazing journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and connect it to one of the key lessons of this film. In a world of fake news, she certainly was an important and refreshing voice.

  7. Arbi hasa

    After watching the movie “Don’t Look Up” played by one of the Hollywood starts and also one of my favorite actors Leonardo Di Caprio makes me think of current situation in our world. After examining multiple times, a meteorite two scientist came to the conclusion that if not stopped this meteorite would destroy life on Earth. After going on media and telling people the truth everyone took it as a joke or as the next joke by two crazy scientists that just want to go out in public and game some fame for money or other reasons. While the president and which in this movie more of a crazy person that was totally only focused on herself and holding power at all costs did not take these scientists that serious in the beginning. Obviously, the studies were found to be true, and fact based everyone was like ok lets not panic and lets try to work to find a solution. People were not informed well while the truth was hidden and silenced from the public. There were plans made to change the trajectory of the meteor so that it would not destroy our planet however the lust and craziness of rich people trying to profit from the situation and use the meteor to enrich themselves with a wishful thinking that it would help our planet however it did not happen and the meteor did hit our planet killing thousands and destroying life. The moral of the story behind the movie is that the truth will always be silenced from the people in power and to be able to tell the truth to people journalists and individuals have to stay strong stand up and fight against the people in power.

    • Mark Noonan

      I’m glad you enjoyed this film as much as me Arbi (I too think Leonardo is pretty spectacular in all his many roles). I really like your final line: “The moral of the story behind the movie is that the truth will always be silenced from the people in power and to be able to tell the truth to people journalists and individuals have to stay strong stand up and fight against the people in power.” Right on!

  8. Cynthiagamene

    I decided to focus on the movie “Don’t Look Up” and talk about it. This movie made me think about what we live in real life. I was really disgusted by the behavior of the president named Orlean and of her government. I cannot understand such behavior towards such a critical and delicate situation. In summary, according to the discovery of two scientists named Dr Mindy and Kate in astronomy, the earth was to be completely destroyed by a comet within 6 months! I think their mistake was not signaling to journalists or social media before going to the presidency! The sad thing is that since the president and her government found out first and took it as a joke, people also took it as a joke. It was disgusting how, while he was serious, people took them like crazy. One thing that I really liked about this movie was Kate’s outspokenness.
    People tend to want to see before they believe, while forgetting that in some situations we will have to prepare for the worst to survive.
    To conclude, often people in power tend to hide a lot of truths behind their walls and they tell us (the people on the outside) what we want to hear instead of telling us the truth in order to prepare everyone to take precautions. In addition the president and her government even use the media or social media to hide their lies and that’s sad because people end up dead and they only save themselves.

    • Mark Noonan

      Interesting discussion of the film Cynthia. Your line “that since the president and her government found out first and took it as a joke, people also took it as a joke” reminds me of the power of our leaders to manage “story lines” . In particular, I think of Trump who really did treat so many serious issues all too lightly (like a joke). Nicely done.

  9. Taliyah Watson

    The film I chose was Don’t Look Up, While watching the film I noticed that it connected to most of what we learned this semester. For example, the movie is about these two astronomers that are trying to let the world know that there are comets that are coming to destroy the world, they try different tactics such as speaking to the president and the chief of staff, News anchors, and many more people that can influence people to take this threat seriously. Almost everyone they speak to doesn’t care and takes it as a joke, this movie reminds me of the “ fake news” content that we learned because it seemed as if almost everyone these astronomers spoke to were trying to hide the threat behind less important matters rather than hearing the astronomers out and letting people decide whether they believe it or not for themselves. They use a lot of different ways to cover up what’s going on by making fun of what these astronomers are trying to let people know about the comets and in the end, it becomes even more serious when the comets actually begin to hit. The denial of others caused many people to die when they could have easily found a way to stop the comets from destroying the earth, this is the same thing happening in the real world now. So many people are in denial or feel as if we can’t make a change, they ask the same question all the time “ what impact can one person make to save the world?” they never think if I make an impact who will it move to make a bigger impact and who will they move to make an even bigger impact. Many people don’t understand that yes one person may not make a big impact but they are starting a ripple effect because once someone sees you do good others begin to follow and then another and another until we get to the point where we are closer to helping in some way. People are normally selfish instead of thinking about how long we have left on earth and why we should even try to make a difference, they need to think about the people who are left on this earth way longer after they are gone and how it will affect them. It seems like people don’t think about the future as much as they should for example they might not be here for too much longer but their children,grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews will be left behind and will have to deal with all the damage we leave behind. Humankind needs to stop being selfish, stop hiding the truth and care more.

    • Mark Noonan

      Fine commentary Taliyah on this film. Your final line really stands out to me: “Humankind needs to stop being selfish, stop hiding the truth and care more.” Certainly, the media needs to do a better job reaching more people — just as citizens have a responsibility to care. Well done.

  10. Alvaro Panozo

    Watching the “Navalny” documentary made me feel worried for the people in Russia. Alexei Navanly is a former Russian presidential candidate who opposes everything Putin stands for. He isn’t afraid of interaction, in fact Navanly himself, exposed the corruption that goes behind the scenes. He’s exposed Putin and his other allies various times in order to make a better campaign for himself. However, his actions drove him in the wrong direction. In 2020, it is believed and proven by Navalny that Putin tried to poison him in an attempt to kill him. This caused a big noise in the journalism field because not only was it dangerous to be a journalist in Russia, but you also had no voice at all. Because of how strong and demanding Navalny came at Putin, it almost got him killed. What’s so inspiring about this documentary though, is how much heart Navalny has for Russia. He’s willing to sacrifice everything he has for a better tomorrow, he has passion. In class we learned how the people with power like Putin for example, always have something that they’re hiding from their people, this documentary clearly demonstrated all of that. Navalny was arrested back in january 2021 for protesting, which then lead to another charge the following month. This meant that Navalny was staying in prison for longer than expected. Alexei Navalny demonstrates how we can’t take our freedom for granted, watching this made me feel so fortunate that I’m able to speak my mind. If anybody is able to watch this documentary I completely recommend it.

    • Mark Noonan

      Interesting commentary. I really like your point about how “inspiring” the documentary is, or as you put it: ” how much heart Navalny has for Russia. He’s willing to sacrifice everything he has for a better tomorrow; he has passion. ” Very well said.

  11. Elma Kastrat

    I chose to watch the movie “Don’t Look Up”. The story is about two astronomers who discover a comet orbiting in the sun system. Although the clinical network can be exciting, the fact is that the comet will crash on this planet exactly in 6 months and 14 days. Kate Dibiasky and her professor Dr Randall Mindy, right away apprehend the apocalyptic results due to the fact the effect will wipe out any shape of existence from our beloved planet. Their mission is to inform the President of the United States and find a way of changing the orbit of a comet. The world must work together to save lives from the tragic end.
    Director Adam McKay and all the cast tried everything to wake us up, but let us look not up in the sky but right in front of us, where ruthless billionaires rule our planet and our lives, without any right to do so. When Kate and Dr Mindy wait outside the Oval Office to explain the dangerous situation above our heads, they need to wait because the president is busy celebrating her birthday and strategizing to increase public appeal. We can see that our delusions and disappointments increased rapidly when they finally spoke to the President. The world will end. But what’s important for politicians is the vote, the power, and making sure that people don’t understand the issues. The government will act only when it can see a possible advantage for the next election, so they can strengthen consensus across the country. Involving spectacular fireworks and national heroes as part of a plan to deflect the comet when it’s ready. We find out who really rules the world, billionaires with secret weapons.
    When President Orlean agrees on the mission, Bash billionaire CEO Peter Isherwell requests an emergency meeting. The people who rule the world are those who give financial support to a particular political party. But that’s not all. To actually control the government, you need data to intimidate people. Dialogue between Peter and Dr. Mindy freezes us because this might be happening to us too. Using data collected in a controversial way, they predict the illnesses you may develop, profile you, and have nearly 100% accuracy in how you will die. You can even guess with. We can see that social media owns the world. The film opens our eyes, but the media tries to close it.
    While it’s hard to resist the temptations of stupid and corrupted society, especially when it looks so beautiful and tempting like the blonde Brie, fortunately, there are still genuine and inspiring characters around us. For example, Dr. Mindy has taught us how we should use social networks to inform people and share meaningful knowledge. Dr Oglethorpe has taught us how to denounce even the president of the U.S.A.when he or she is not doing his or her job. Kate Diviaski is the voice of the choir, who is always willing to tell the truth and ready to fight for our lives and rights. June is a betrayed woman ready to forgive because love matters more when looking at death. After a terrible start, Riley Vina teaches us that we can change, educate people and help us take care of the planet with our knowledge and skills. Ariana’s character inspires all of us. There is still something good on earth.
    The film satirizes our society. There is a desperate attempt that wakes up our minds and lets us think with our brains. The truth is that what the movie shows on screen is actually the reality we live in. We are the protagonists of thousands of “#launchchallenges”, where most of us do not understand politic, economic and other important topics. Unfortunately, today more and more people are using social media to post selfies and share videos like chickens and dogs to show their stupidity. We are greedy for what we like, not knowledge. It’s a society where we don’t have much to say, explain, or get involved. It is a world of false unqualified influencers without brains and souls. But like Riley, we can change. In the most beautiful scene, Doctor. Mindy says, “We need to hear things. What the hell happened to us? How do we even talk to each other? What have we done to ourselves? How do we fix it? The president of the United States is fucking lying. The whole administration lost their fucking mind! And I think we are all gonna die.” In addition, Jack Handey says, “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers”. This phrase is the key to explaining the doctor’s Mindy and Diviaski behavior. They knew what would happen to the world, but when they ran out of energy, they decided to turn off the TV and stop following the fake news in the media. Instead, they teach us to focus on our loved ones, care for them, and be thankful for what we have because it could be gone one day.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very thoughtful and interesting review of key points from this film. I really like your point that “We are the protagonists of thousands of “#launchchallenges”, where most of us do not understand politic, economic and other important topics. Unfortunately, today more and more people are using social media to post selfies and share videos like chickens and dogs to show their stupidity.” I had to laugh at this funny, profound statement.

  12. Orlando Melendez Ramos

    The movie “Don’t look up” relates to what I have learned in this class because it shows the viewers how much people pay attention to anyone who wants to express the truth and help anyone by telling them the truth, by attempting to expose the government people can get taken away or erased from their own life’s and forced to have a different one. This is also related to how journalists are often silenced by getting their comments taken down on most social platforms such as Twitter and sometimes they can even be killed because they were saying something that they were not supposed to say but they are journalists, so they have to express what is happening in the world and the government doesn’t want to get exposed. In the movie “Don’t look up” the two main characters stop trying to tell the government after the government starts to need their help and notice that the world has already seen the government being exposed. However, most of the time a situation such as that wouldn’t happen because a journalist would still keep trying to give the people the news that they want even if the government tries to stop them from doing it.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent points Orlando. I really liked your point about how the film relates “to how journalists are often silenced by getting their comments taken down on most social platforms such as Twitter and sometimes they can even be killed because they were saying something that they were not supposed to say. But they are journalists, so they have to express what is happening in the world while the government doesn’t want to get exposed.” Well said.

  13. Kimberly Baez

    The film “Don’t Look Up” was very interesting to watch because it makes one question the role of the media and government officials when it comes to properly communicate with the public. The film’s satirical form of humor is used to criticize the media and the world leaders when it comes to an event as huge as the end of the world. This reminded me of one of the ten elements of the media that we discussed in one of our lessons, which is, their obligation to tell the truth. The entire film is based on getting the truth out there and fighting those who oppose it. The plot of the film consists of two scientists taking action in their hands to save the planet from extinction by a comet. In 6 months and 14 days, the earth will be hit by a comet that will extinct all humanity. Dr. Mindy (Leonardo Dicaprio) and his student Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) tell the president of the United States (Meryl Streep) that the earth will be hit by a comet, with no serious actions being taken on her part. Since the media and the government officials do not take them seriously, Kate and Dr. Mindy as scientists take it upon themselves to give it as much attention as possible. Even though this film was very funny, it was a sad kind of funny. This is because of how it portrays the lack of seriousness and care from the media and high government officials towards an event that will cost all human life. For example, when both scientists are invited to a talk show to talk about their discoveries, they are taken as a joke. This represents the corruption of the media and the corruption in the hands of politicians who are not caring about this issue. This corruption is portrayed in the film when the president of the United States is about to lose the midterms because of an affair scandal and decides to act on the comet issue because it will fix her reputation, not because she actually cares. Also, the mission to destroy the comet gets aborted in the film because they found out that the comet contains 32 trillion dollars worth of minerals, which is insane! The way politicians are portrayed in the film shows how selfish they are, and how little they care about their people. I just hope that in the future in case something like this happens, (hopefully never), the media and elected officials take full responsibility and prioritize the well-being of the people, and the planet rather than the money, ambition, and power.

    • Mark Noonan

      Terrific reading of this funny (and yes sad) film, Kimberly. You do a fine job connecting its main theme to lesson of journalist ” to tell the truth.” As you ably point out, “The entire film is based on getting the truth out there and fighting those who oppose it” but good luck doing so!!!

  14. Dominique Jones

    I decided to watch the film “Don’t Look Up” where two scientists come across a comet; This comet has the power to destroy all of humanity and it is expected to arrive in just six months. In this film, the scientists are attempting to explain this call for attention to an upcoming crisis, but they both get much push back. The film and storyline is told in a sarcastic way in a form of satire. All the scientists want to do is to share the truth with the world, which I connected to the Elements of Journalism; truth telling. The goal of a journalist is to get the truth out to the public immediately and share a narrative. In “Don’t Look Up”, the scientists recognized the power that is social media. A quick and easy way to reach people where no one can get in between the public and the truth– to a certain extent. Whereas the president in the film attempted to conceal the truth from the public by starting a movement entitled “Don’t Look Up”. Lying to the world is dangerous and creates a barrier. People in society should be able to trust government officials and the media.

    • Mark Noonan

      Nice reading of this film Dominique. I really like your final lines:
      “Lying to the world is dangerous and creates a barrier. People in society should be able to trust government officials and the media.” Well said.

  15. Ling Mei

    The film I decided to watch is the recent film satire Don’t Look Up. Based on the trailer I can tell you that I was already frustrated at humanity’s decisions to make fun of a human-extinct level disaster comet that was scientifically proven to 100% hit Earth.
    Once the film began, I was introduced to Dr.Mindy and Kate who were the scientist that discovered the plant-killer comet. They notified the higher-ups about this discovery and were immediately sent to Washington DC to meet the president. After waiting 7 hours straight from the airport to Washington DC, they were sent to a hotel, and finally the next day they were able to meet the president. During the meeting, what stuck to me was now that I saw both perspectives – I understand why the president would want to “sit tight and assess” the situation like a few reasons of keep calm, check with other scientists and NASA, and they had many meetings where it’s like your gonna die soon talks before, so I understand now why they would want to keep the planet-killer comet classified from the public for now. Though I understand why they want to keep the information classified, their attitude toward the devastating situation was very cheerful and laidback, and they said everything is going to be fine. But Dr.Mindy and Kate, are scientists who discovered this huge secret and a plant-killer comet is going to hit Earth in 6 months more or less. They wish to let people know as soon as possible and do something about it. They were very stressed at how calm the president and the other people in the meeting were. They feel like these people don’t get what situation they are in. Soon Dr.Mindy and Kate use their connections with another professor to contact other scientists in gathering more data and finding a way to spread this news. One of the scientists mentioned Dr.Mindy would probably need a lawyer and media training just to tell people the truth about this planet-killing comet they discovered.
    During the show, Dr.Mindy was professional and tried to get their important message out, but unfortunately, Kate seemed to be very stressed and lashed out on the show, giving a really awkward time for the crew. They told the news and the crew about the message they wanted to say but I guess the lack of reaction caused this to happen. Unfortunately, after the situation, the message they truly wanted to get out into the media was not taken seriously because of Kates’s unprofessionalism – they became memes for the internet to edit and make. So their message was not heard in anyways. The use of social media was a good idea to try to spread out this disastrous information but they sadly did it unprofessionally.
    Throughout the film, much news and media were being broadcasted and live like when the president kidnapped the scientist back to the white house and told them their discovery was confirmed and they were telling the truth. So then they set up like a news press live show and broadcasted to the whole world to see. Many things happen like stocks going up and down, people on the internet saying this news/media might be a hoax, and most people are still making fun of Kate/comet that is named after her. The reason why they set up the news press was to send someone out to blow the comet off course but Peter, the 3rd richest guy in the world guy came out and said to not throw it off course and let it come down to our earth just because that comet materials are worth like 140 trillion dollars and he could use that material for his technologies..etc. The media were pretty split, like 25% still doesn’t believe the comet is real, another 23% is actually scared and the rest just doesn’t care. Otherwise, scientists who tried to participate in the peer-review of this comet that Peter didn’t like them questioning him were fired and reassigned to another position so they don’t have the right to say anything. The comet started becoming more apparent as it slowly starts coming down from the sky then the world was split between Don’t look up and look up factions. Peter’s BASH launch failed to collect the material from the comet and in the end earth was hit by the comet.
    These scientists who just wish to tell the truth to the world by any means were shut down many times by their own president and people around the world. They tried to spread their message through social media. Sure, they may have needed some media training but in the end, their message was finally heard only when it was too late.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent overview of key scenes and themes from this film Ling Mei. I like you final lines: These scientists who just wish to tell the truth to the world by any means were shut down many times by their own president and people around the world. They tried to spread their message through social media. Sure, they may have needed some media training but in the end, their message was finally heard only when it was too late.”

  16. Enson Zhou

    I watched the show “Network” and it was quite funny and interesting. One thing I noticed Is that some parts of the movie related to a discussion, I talked about earlier in the semester. First, let’s go through some key points in the film. Early on in the film, I learned that the character “Diana Christiansen” is a programming producer who is prepared to do anything to gain followers. We also learn later on in the film that Howard Beale and his boss Holden get a hold of alcoholic drinks and joke about committing suicide on air. This lit a light bulb in my head as I remember writing about news reporters covering media that is not even the main focus. The black lives matter protest, for example, had news reporters covering the looting and violence and there were very few that actually covered the main focus of the protest. These news reporters are responsible for relaying the news to the world and yet they are on live tv joking about committing suicide and flipping the script on Racial movements.

    • Mark Noonan

      I’m so glad you ended up watching this classic film Enson and enjoyed it as much as I did.
      You do a good job point to some key scenes and themes from the film. I really like how you connect the film to the distorted coverage of “the black lives matter protests” . Your point about the overemphasis by journalist on the “looting and violence” versus the real sources of black anger is spot on.

  17. Sherica Mae

    The film I decided to write about is the recent Netflix film satire *Don’t Look Up* directed by Adam McKay. A correlation I made with this film and what I’ve learned this semester is how large issues are continuously disregarded. In the film, two astronomers played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio discovered a comet is going to destroy the earth in six months. When they first tried to get the government’s attention, they were disregarded and were seen as unimportant. When the two scientists finally got a chance to speak with the president, they discovered that the government will only act if they see an opportunity to gain an upper – hand in the next election, so that they can spread their influence across the country. As a result, the President tries to cover this up when the two leak the news to a New York newspaper. Any time the two scientists bring up the truth of the impending catastrophe, they are dismissed or the talk shifts to another topic. Even when the comet’s risk and potential danger were discussed, the audience didn’t see a problem with it, even if they were going to perish.

    This film connects to what I’ve learned in class because even when there’s a literal life-threatening matter happening in the world, the government will always try to either cover it up or find a way to use it for their benefit. Even though social media plays a huge role in delivering daily news to the public, if the government decides it isn’t important enough or the journalists covering it aren’t competent enough and have their own agenda, the message won’t get across.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent post Sherica on a key lesson from the film and our class: “how large issues are continuously disregarded” by the media in favor of the frivolous matters social media loves to concentrate on. Great point (and nicely stated in your final paragraph).

  18. Javier Inga

    Much like other students, I chose to discuss Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” a recent apocalyptic satire film from Netflix that gives not-so-subtle commentary on the media today. The film begins with two scientists discovering a comet on a direct collision course for Earth, which will destroy all life on the planet. While the looming comet was first intended as an allegory for climate change — a known danger that, left unchecked, could wipe humanity out — I believe that it could also be a metaphor for many other threats we face today. Whether it be the COVID pandemic, an overly aggressive Russian power attempting to take back Soviet states, or the growing disparity between wealth and poverty, these all constitute issues that can be avoided if necessary action is taken ahead of time. The very unfortunate twist here is that the media appears to prioritize ratings, viewership, and profit over effective communication to avoid catastrophe.
    As the movie progresses, President Orlean and her son/Chief of Staff Jason meet the situation with total apathy, more concerned with how this news will affect reelection chances than actually working to save the world from the apocalypse. While this action (or inaction) is seemingly reminiscent of the Trump era handling of issues like climate change and COVID, we also see similar behaviors from the media during the morning talk show where the news is first broken to the public. Rather than show any panic or even concern for this news, the hosts are dismissive and care more about Dr. Mindy’s looks and later make fun of Kate Dibiasky’s public meltdown. President Orlean only uses the comet as a propaganda tool later on to draw attention away from her sex scandal with a Supreme Court nominee.
    Observing how both the president and the media act in this film, we can point out how far they stray from perhaps the two most essential elements of journalism: the first obligation is the truth, and the first loyalty is to the citizens. Whether it be from corporate greed, the need to spin stories to fit one’s own narrative, or a blend of the two with other factors, these same behaviors have been observed time and again in our own society. Rather than following these basic rules of journalism, many “news” sources appear to prioritize profit over anything else — including the standard expectations for their own jobs. Sadly, the movie concludes with the impact of the comet on Earth, which wipes humanity off the face of the Earth. While it won’t be as quick or painless, the movie suggests a similar fate for us if topics like climate change are not addressed head-on with the appropriate action taking place. It seems the first step in achieving this is public action, which can only be done by effective communication from journalists all over the globe, following these same elements of journalism.

    • Mark Noonan

      Sharp response Javier to key scenes and themes from this film. I especially like your connection of the film to “the Trump era’s handling of issues like climate change and COVID.” Spot on.

  19. Chelsie Agcaoili

    After viewing the film Don’t Look Up on Netflix I’m able to connect what I learned to some key ideas we’ve covered in class. In the article The Elements of Journalism, the very first essential component of journalism is journalism’s first obligation is to tell the truth. Right from the start once the two astronomers, Dr. Randall Mindy and Kate Dibiasky, discovered the truth they become unhinged and filled with dread as they make great attempts to make their discovery known to the public. They were confounded when they realized people were apathetic toward the situation and how the president only began considering due to personal interest. It goes back to my question of how those in powerful positions affect what we consume under any circumstances. In this case, whether or not the media that is put out there is true or false or partly true, how the truth can be disguised by other events or fabricated, and so on. The implication of the first amendment is also very relevant and highlighted when Mindy and Dibiasky decided themselves to broadcast their discovery of the comet (”planet killer”) through a media outlet. I feel the lack of support received from the president for Mindy and Dibiasky affects the great impact of the truth being concealed to the world and demonstrates serious consequences.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very good reading of the film Chelsie. Your connection of it to the First Amendment is intriguing. Certainly, Americans have the full “freedom of speech” but does that mean we have the full freedom to spread lies and be ignorant. Apparently yes for it looks like Donald Trump is being welcomed back onto Twitter.

  20. Mackenzie Bowman

    The film “Don’t Look Up” is one that I personally feel hit a bit too close to home. We were able to, for one thing, see the affects of spreading news of disaster and the varying perceptions of it. From the people who refused to believe in the comet to the people who thought it should be exploited for its minerals to the people who actually rallied for something to be done, no one could agree on the situation – and it resulted in the mass destruction and deaths. It reminded me a lot of COVID, and how some people try to do the right thing and keep others safe while others refuse to accept that it is a real disease that can harm others. At the same time, corporations and governments have exploited people in such times of distress. It is interesting because despite the information being spread, including through journalism. Even on the morning show where Kate and Dr. Mindy try to leak the news of the comet, the anchors laugh and treated the topic as if it were a joke, which is not only unprofessional, but also hindered the delivery of an important subject, and affected how the viewers would take it.
    It also delved a lot into the impact and affect of social media and journalism. We see this with the opposing “Just look up” and “Don’t look up” campaigns, rallying for the opposite views on the matter. This also ties right into what we as a class explored and experience in the real world because it shows how there can be many loud voices all at once, screaming for a certain thing to be done, with no real result. The comet was never stopped, no one was able to exploit it because everyone was either off of the planet or dead. It is amazing because this film is able to be funny while hitting so many relevant topics, truly showing how we can’t just talk about a problem, and fight about an issue, we don’t have the time to do that. We need to stand up, unite, and do something about our issues in the world, rather than remain divided.

    • Mark Noonan

      Terrific insights on this great film, MacKenzie. Your point about “the impact and affect of social media and journalism” leading to “too many loud voices at once” (and hence a lack of action) is profound.

  21. Brandan Ramnandan

    In class we spoke a lot about social media and the news and things like that and they almost go hand and hand today. In the movie don’t look up, a meteor is coming towards earth but people are too caught up in the lives of celebrities that they can’t even tell what’s going on and not even that they can’t tell but they literally care more about the things going on in these other peoples lives. I think this is a problem and can relate to the topics we covered in class about social media and the news because this is truly how the world is becoming. Instead of worrying about the shooting in buffalo , or the war in ukraine people are more worried about will smith slapping chris rock at the oscars. I’ve seen this happen many times like back then there was another shooting i’m not sure exactly where this happened but it was at a music festival or something like that and the guy was shooting people from the window of the hotel, instead of that I seen more posts about wendy williams fainting on live tv. I get that it might be entertaining at times, but honestly the world is coming to a bad place because we might end up not even caring when the world is ending like the movie because we’re too worried about an oscars slap.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent concluding post Brandan. I really like your line:

      ” Instead of worrying about the shooting in buffalo , or the war in Ukraine, people are more worried about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscar’s. ”

      We all need to do a lot better!

  22. Ashley

    “The dissident” is the film I chose as it impacted me heavily into the dark world of journalism. The world was left confused, and desperate for answers about Jamal Khashoggi as his murder left his family with no answers. The film puts the emphasis on the danger of a journalist’s job despite the fact that he entered the country for personal reasons. Jamal spent years on providing insider information on the power of Mohammed bin Salam who was a Prince and additionally how he came about becoming powerful. Jamal threatens the prince throughly simply having freedom of speech, but it indeed came with a price, and was unfortunately the cost of his life. Evidence shows that Jamal walks into the embassy and recordings are heard of him begging for his life as well as the killers finding humor about how they would discard of his body. Throughout this journalism class, if there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that freedom of speech is often a privilege. America puts emphasis on “if you see something, say something” and often this is not the case in other countries. Despite Jamal working for Donald trump and coming to America, a mere visit to another country resulted in him losing his life after traveling to Turkey. Overall, the film puts emphasis on the government in Saudi Arabia and their strict rules, and governing. Jamal’s story has shown their lack of compassion, and strict policy about what can be said and what cannot. Not only was nobody ever punished for the murder of Jamal, but nothing has changed about the lack of freedom of speech. Through watching this film, I connected various points to the Ukraine and russian war. Russian journalists often face this issue and there have been multiple cases where journalists have faced the consequences for telling the truth. Russian media is forced to alter what they present or they will face punishment for it. Jamal died as a hero and died for what he loved to do as well, and his case should be something we always remember for the privilege we carry to have the freedom of speech in america. Additionally, learning about his story has made me wonder about the ways we advocate for the freedom of speech in other countries.

    • Mark Noonan

      I’m glad you got a chance to watch this important documentary. Your comments on it are very astute. I particularly liked the line:
      “Throughout this journalism class, if there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that freedom of speech is often a privilege.”
      A great lesson indeed. Excellent work across the semester Ashley.

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