Well, we had a good run, journalism and the movies. For some time now, Hollywood’s been a hero-making machine for journalists and their likenesses on the big screen (see, most recently, Julia Stiles portraying journalist Jessica Pressler in “Hustlers”: Boring, yes, but a good reporter). But now, a nasty fight is breaking out over the upcoming movie “Richard Jewell” and its depiction of former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs, who, in the movie, enters into a sexual relationship with an FBI agent as a way to get information on the investigation into the 1996 bombing in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. “The AJC’s reporter is reduced to a sex-trading object in the film,” reads a letter sent to the filmmakers by the newspaper. The paper is requesting a disclaimer be added to the movie to say that some situations had been dramatized. “The assertion in the film that the AJC relied recklessly on questionable sourcing is itself reckless.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
. . . “It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal Constitution, having been part of the rush to judgement of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast,” is, presumably, not the response the AJC wanted. (Them are fightin words.)
. . . “I think this letter makes it clear how seriously we take the misrepresentation of our reporters’ actions and of the actions of the newspaper during that time. We have been clear about how disturbed we are in the film’s use of a Hollywood trope about reporters … and how it misrepresents how seriously journalists concern themselves with reporting accurately and ethically.” (Variety)
. . . The film is not based on Scruggs’ reporting, though she is a major player in it — being the first to break the story that the FBI was investigating Jewell. (Vanity Fair is the source material.) The real shame in this he-said, she-said, though, is that she (Scruggs) is not alive to defend herself. Now, her colleagues are left to stand for Scruggs’ reputation: “She was never at peace or at rest with this story. It haunted her until her last breath. It crushed her like a junebug on the sidewalk.” (It’s “The Ballad of Kathy Scruggs” vs. “The Ballad of Richard Jewell”)
. . . This, of course, is not the first time journalism has been misrepresented in film. “A Christmas Prince” is a fictional fairytale, but these, most definitely, are not representative reporters’ notes.
“The tasks we’ll need help with will change, as our reporting and our stories evolve. But we’re starting at ground zero: What are your biggest questions about the technologies you use every day?” Recode by Vox is launching the Open Sourced Reporting Network, an email community for everyday people to contribute to its tech reporting.
Flashback to the first Golden Globes of this decade: Five of the 10 television shows nominated in the “Best Drama” and “Best Musical or Comedy” categories were on broadcast TV channels — FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS — while AMC and HBO made up the rest. (Par for the course.) Ten years later? “Broadcast TV Shows And Actors Were Completely Shut Out Of The Golden Globes For The First Time Ever” (BuzzFeed News)
“People need to follow official New Jersey state twitter right now before the FBI steps in,” tweeted @Jim_Edwards. He’s right. It’s getting wild and crazy over on the @NJGov account. “Who let New Jersey have a Twitter,” someone asked. “your mom,” @NJGov answered.
. . . Mediaite: “The New Jersey State Twitter Account Is Going Full Jersey” (No, it’s not a hack.)
‘Tis the season when dad recommits himself to making his son a prototypical left-handed pitcher because Gerrit Cole is about to get paid $324 million over the next nine years.
Before you set your resolute number — books to read in 2020 — for New Year’s, here’s Lit Hub’s list of the best 10 (and then some) literary TV adaptations of the decade (or, “Game of Thrones” and others that aren’t “Game of Thrones”).
This also happened last week: Michael, a kindergartner in Michigan, invited his entire class to the courthouse to witness his adoption.