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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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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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