Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

Stop the Presses!!! Best Films About Journalism

Another day, another nervous breakdown

I just read an article about how the comedy actor Albert Brooks apparently turned down the lead role in a number of major films (Dead Poet's Society, Pretty Woman, Big, Boogie Nights) that went on to become hugely successful, even without him. 

Brooks, who's clearly been marinating in a brine of deep and bitter regret for the past 20 years, said something completely disingenuous about how "regrets are stupid" and "don't mean anything".

Anyway. It got me thinking about films Brooks was wise enough to sign on for and in which his performance was actually very good - one of those was Broadcast News (1987) - that darkly funny portrait of the fickle, cut-throat world of TV news.

Thinking about Broadcast News got me thinking about all those other great - and not so great- movies that have meditated on that great and important craft journalism, which as we journalists know is the most glamorous and well-remunerated of all the professions.

Most, if not all these films, perpetuate many of the hackneyed myths about what it means to be a working journalist. In case you weren't aware;
  • We're all chain-smoking alcoholics who sleep off our benders in our cars
  • Have seen every story under the sun
  • Are too old for this shit
  • Have been around too long to take orders from some wannabe Nancy Drewe.
  • Can't sustain meaningful relationships
  • Are more than prepared to crush a rival or anyone else who wants to stand in the way of our career advancement and
  • Couldn't make a school lunch to save our lives but could craft you the best god damned news lead you ever read in your life and make it look easy.
That said, there are many terrific films that portray journalists and journalism in ways that feel real and authentic. I've compiled as many as I could think of. I'm sure of missed plenty so post your own suggestions below. I've also created a poll so you can nominate your favourite journalism-flavoured film of all time.

Broadcast News (1987)

Tabloid (2011)

The September Issue (2009)


State of Play (2009)


Goodnight and Good Luck (2005)


Anchorman (2004)


Shattered Glass (2003)


Veronica Guerin (2003)


Balibo (2009)


Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo (2011) (Telemovie)


Page One (2011)


The Paper (1994)


All the President's Men (1976)




Newsfront (1978)


Citizen Kane