Best Journalism Movies

1. The Paper Documentary
You won’t find this on many critics' lists -- and you’ll have an even harder time finding a reasonably priced DVD or rental -- but there may not be a better modern day film about journalism than "The Paper." This 2007 documentary "is a resonant microcosm" for many of the challenges today’s media faces, observed the Boston Globe. Filmmaker Aaron Matthews spent a year following the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the staff of Penn State’s daily student newspaper. Declining circulation, ethical dilemmas, staff disagreements, minority coverage, censorship, etc. -- it’s all in the 78-minute film, which provides a genuine behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a journalist.

2. Citizen Kane
An oldie, but goodie. The movie is based upon the life of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and the era of “Yellow Journalism.” "Citizen Kane" is widely considered to be the greatest film to ever come out of Hollywood.

3. Shattered Glass
This film tracks the real-life rise and fall of young journalist Stephen Glass, a rising star at The New Republic who was exposed for fabricating dozens of articles.  It features a star-studded cast, including Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard and Chloe Sevigny. Film critics and journalists alike have commended the film for its realistic portrayal of journalism. It also serves as a warning to journalists on the dangers of plagiarism and fabrication in the age of Google searches.

4. State of Play
The 2009 thriller starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck is full of drama, suspense, action and plot twists while also providing a decent look at the changes occurring in the news industry: the old guard of print journalism vs. the new media types, media owners concerned more about profit margins than producing good journalism, political scandals, conflicts of interest and ethical dilemmas, and much more. As Philadelphia Inquirer movie critic Carrie Rickey wrote: “The journalist in me loved State of Play. The moviegoer in me even more so.”

5. The Paper
Yes, another movie named “The Paper.” Although this film is fictional, it provides an entertaining and fairly realistic look at the competition, deadline pressures, colorful personalities, sensationalism and questionable reporting tactics at many big city tabloid-type media outlets. Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei star.