Friday, November 14, 2008

'Stop the Presses' film presents dire forecast for newspapers

Enjoy your Saturday newspaper while you can. Mark Birnbaum and Manny Mendoza say there's no telling how much longer you'll have the pleasure. The duo co-produced and co-directed Stop the Presses: The American Newspaper in Peril. Birnbaum is a documentary filmmaker and Mendoza is a former Dallas Morning News staff critic. The documentary will be screened Sunday and Monday as part of the Starz Denver Film Festival. In the shadow of headlines detailing economic crisis, newspaper layoffs and falling readership, the film looks at the money crunch facing daily newspapers and asks what future they (and a generation of journalists) will have. The film includes interviews with reporters as well as former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, media writer Ken Auletta, humor columnist Dave Barry and actor Ed Asner (of Lou Grant fame). Interspersed are clips from newspaper-oriented films and TV shows featuring Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell and The Simpsons. Birnbaum and Mendoza talked with Rocky reporter John Lehndorff about the film recently in a call from Birnbaum's home in Texas.

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Mendoza spoke with Fading to Black in October 2007.

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