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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Page One

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Ever hear of WikiLeaks? When the New York Times began publishing “The War Logs”, a collection of classified military documents in 2010, many decried this as unethical and unpatriotic. The New York Times, with members of the board from the same family that has owned it since 1896, went with the stories and documents anyway, maintaining its journalistic independence.
 
But what kind of journalism is WikiLeaks? It’s an online entity – no paper involved at this stage if at any. Is it a news source or a news organization? This question, and many more, is explored in this fascinating documentary that follows four Times journalists throughout 2010 and the morphing of a newspaper into a multiplatform source for news.
 
Nostalgia is present in the film as well; Carl Bernstein talks about how the Washington Post  brought down a president with its reporting on Watergate in the 1970s. Hard reporting, confirming details, checking sources.  Then there is embarrassment, but owning up to the worst in journalism, when New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s stories hyped Hussein’s search for weapons of mass destruction, information that proved to be false, but fed into President Bush’s decision to go to war.
 
The most interesting issue for me was about the face-off between news as business  for profit and news as an essential element of democracy. When the Tribune Company (that owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other outlets and companies) filed for bankruptcy protection in December, 2008, the face-off shown in the film between businessmen who know nothing of journalism and journalists who do what they do as a calling, made me want to stand up and cheer for freedom of the press.
 
The question for the New York Times, and every other newspaper still in existence in the United States (so many have folded – literally), is how do you pay reporters and support news bureaus around the world? Print advertising diminished so fast that newspapers were left gasping for funds as loyal employees were laid off. You find revenue through online subscriptions and online advertising, in addition to publishing the news on paper.
 
“Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times” only touches the myriad issues and challenges to authentic journalism. The film is imperative for citizens who want to participate in a democracy rather than a political economy.
 
 


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John of Capistrano: It has been said the Christian saints are the world’s greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ’s redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events. 
<p>Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times. </p><p>John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later. </p><p>His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. </p><p>The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John’s tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance. </p><p>He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement. </p><p>When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.</p> American Catholic Blog When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other’s hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great

 
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