All the President's Men and my intro to journalism
Actually, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford molded my views of journalism with their performance of Woodward and Bernstein in All the President's Men, as I took the helm as editor of The Baker Orange.
Through strategic b.s.-ing and a stroke of luck, I was chosen to be the editor of the now six-time winner of the top weekly college paper in Kansas. I'd never edited an article in my life. I'd only written columns for the local city paper. And some random features. I had to get my crap together quick. I moved to an apartment on campus and spent my summer in the newsroom, teaching myself Quark Express, learning the ins and outs of AP Style and immersing myself in the journalistic craft. I was bored one day and found a VHS copy of All the President's Men in the newsroom.
During my editorship, I chose to protect the anonymity of sources in a story involving campus date rape. I watched All the President's Men frequently during that period, not for inspiration, but because I believed in the responsibility of the media to shine lights in shadows and report the truth. The movie also provided me with a small element of support.
I've never learned more in my life, nor have I been prouder of anything I've ever done than during my work to uncover a string of campus sexual assaults and a culture of reaction. And though my story didn't grow to Watergate magnitude, the story grew, and it affected the campus, the paper and my views of the media's role in society.
I ordered All the President's Men from Amazon.com tonight and look forward to watching it again, in a new light, with a name for Deep Throat in my mind and a few years of experiences under my belt since the last screening.