The honesty of reporting and its demons

By: Daniel Rojas

These letters became witnesses of ideas and testimony of our ancient, present and future history. Over time, the stories became news that told what was happening around until the press made the journalist; just as the journalist made the press become the source for those who wanted to know what is happening beyond what their eyes allowed.

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Journalism became one of the cornerstones of society, as well as one of the most discredited and questioned, since thanks to the influence of external interests to inform, it assumed commitments that in many cases deformed the primary intention of the journalism: inform. The Colombian journalist Gerardo Reyes (Cúcuta, Colombia, 1958) explains it in the following terms: “Journalism has lost its ability to change things that are wrong,” a statement that took place after receiving the Ortega y Gasset Prize for Digital Journalism in 2015 for the report “Los Nuevos Narcotesoros”, published on the website of Univisión, the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States.

One of the most frequent criticisms of current journalism has to do with making it a tool of power, instead of being the place from which power is questioned. Even so, journalism has been transformed, in the same way it has been deformed, from the creation of different meeting points with opinion, strengthened by investigative journalism that has a high dose of courage; where alternative or independent media and free expression have played a renovating role.

One of those witnesses and a source of memory for the history of the great feats of journalism is the cinema. That is why we recommend great titles that remind us of the importance of dedicated journalism, which does not allow itself to be co-opted by interests other than informing society.

The fourth estate (Deadline– USA, 1952).

1952 American crime film directed by Richard Brooks, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore and Kim Hunter in the lead roles. Its plot revolves around a newspaper editor named Ed Hutcheson (Humphrey Bogart) who decides to expose the dark affairs of a prominent mob boss who reveals the problems of corrupt democracies.

It is a classic of universal cinema that deserves to be seen sometime in life.

Good night, good luckGood night and good luck– USA, 2005)

Under the direction of George Clooney and set in 1953, it narrates the real confrontation that in defense of independent journalism, the famous journalist and CBS presenter Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and his producer Fred Friendly (who represents Clooney himself) maintained. ) against the powerful anti-communist senator Joseph McCarthy, a fact that determined the end of the “witch hunt”, as the persecution of people accused of being communists was called with the aim of discrediting them for thinking differently.

Great photography and remarkable direction from George Clooney in a risky but well-told story are worth noting.

Philomena (UK, 2013)

Based on real events. Philomena Lee, is an Irish teenager who lived in a nun’s boarding school and becomes pregnant. The nuns sell the child for $ 1,000 to an American couple. Fifty years later, he decides to tell his daughter and gets in touch with a journalist, at that time discharged from the BBC, to help him tell his story and find his son.

A film built with a wonderful Judi Dench and an excellent editing.

The informant (The insider- USA, 1999)

Jeffrey Wigand, scientist and director of the famous American tobacco company Brown & Williamson, discovers the secret that the tobacco industry jealously hides: substances that create addiction in smokers. Lowell Bergman, a television producer, risks his career by inviting Wigand, who sees his life fall apart after revealing the truth to the public, on his show. No one will emerge unscathed from this battle against tobacco companies.

The fight against a multinational and journalistic ethics come together in a film reflective on the role of the press in society and the power it represents. I think it is the best performance of Russell Crowe in his career, which this time is accompanied by a wonderful Al Pacino.

Under fire (Under Fire– USA, 1983)

Central America, 1970s. Three American journalists go to Nicaragua, where the Sandinista guerrilla is about to overthrow the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, despite the help of the CIA. Russell Price (Nick Nolte) is a photographer pressured by radio journalist Claire (Joanna Cassidy) to become involved in the revolution. Another professional colleague (Gene Hackman) is in a similar situation.

Bajo el Fuego is one of the most committed American films of the eighties. On the one hand, it is a bold denunciation of US intervention in the dictatorships of Latin America; on the other, it raises the dilemma of the degree of commitment of international press informants to the “most just cause.”