FLORIDA TODAY executive editor Bob Gabordi talks with a group of readers about the movie "The Post" at AMC Avenue 16 on Thursday.(Photo: Suzy Fleming Leonard/FLORIDA TODAY)CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE
For journalists, the movie "The Post" has become a rallying point.
In a time when any negatively perceived report is labeled "fake news" and journalistic ethics are constantly being questioned, hearing Katharine Graham (played by Meryl Streep) say, "Publish!" is validation.
That's what journalism is all about: Serving the greater good. Uncovering deceit. Risking financial ruin and jail time to bring the truth to light.The 10 best journalism movies (including Steven Spielberg's 'The Post'), ranked
But how do non-journalists view the movie? Does a film about "The Washingon Post" and its push to expose a cover-up in Vietnam that involved multiple presidents resonate with people who consume the news rather than writing it?
That's what FLORIDA TODAY executive editor Bob Gabordi wanted to find out when he invited a group of readers to AMC Avenue 16 on Thursday to see the movie and chat about it afterward.
The movie offered an accurate portrayal of the newspaper business, Gabordi said. Even small town reporters are subject to intimidation from politicians and community leaders.img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e809edbfd358f5fa0401d40ae8e4b3aea8b2087e/c=58-0-965-682&r=x408&c=540x405/local/-/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525215173492819-GettyImages-893145302.jpg" alt='Actor Ton Hanks arrives for the premiere of "The Post"' width="540" height="405" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525215173492819-GettyImages-893145302.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/4044b1e7645488621f157de466cf1a990870caa2/r=500x333/local/-/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525215173492819-GettyImages-893145302.jpg"">>
Actor Ton Hanks arrives for the premiere of "The Post" on December 14, 2017, in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) (Photo: AFP Contributor, AFP/Getty Images)
During one scene, Graham and Ben Bradlee (played by Tom Hanks) are asked if they would publish the military's D-Day plans if they got them in advance. Would they put U.S. soldiers in danger?
Jack Morton of Melbourne posed the same question to Gabordi. Would that be legal?
Gabordi said he would be more concerned with ethics than legality.
"I wouldn't publish D-Day plans, not because I thought it was illegal, but I wouldn't put soldiers' lives in danger," he said.
There's a difference, he said, between reporting policy decisions and tactical decisions.
"But you verify before you report?" asked Dail Bennett of Merritt Island.
"On big investigative pieces, we have multiple layers of vetting," Gabordi said.
"As you should," said Bennett.
"I'm glad Katharine Graham talked about the press being the first draft of history," Gabordi said.
"The Post" was set in the early 1970s, when newspaper journalists had a whole day to put out the next edition. Now, with the internet and 24-hour news cycles, stories are published around the clock.
"We have taken a position that if we don't have it right, we don't have it," Gabordi said. "Sometimes we do make mistakes. We're human. But we fix it if we get it wrong."
Review: Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' dazzles with terrific cast, journalistic bent
Kay Sanders of Merritt Island wanted to know where do journalists get their credentials? She said she's in the medical field and has to have licensing and proof of continuing education.
"Where do we get verification that you're telling us the truth?" she said.
"The United States is one of the few places where there is no credentialing for journalists," Gabordi said. "That's because of the First Amendment."img itemprop="url" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e809edbfd358f5fa0401d40ae8e4b3aea8b2087e/c=58-0-965-682&r=x408&c=540x405/local/-/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525214554948854-GettyImages-893144544.jpg" alt='Actress Meryl Streep arrives for the premiere of "The' width="540" height="405" data-mycapture-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525214554948854-GettyImages-893144544.jpg" data-mycapture-sm-src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/4044b1e7645488621f157de466cf1a990870caa2/r=500x333/local/-/media/2018/01/25/Brevard/Brevard/636525214554948854-GettyImages-893144544.jpg"">>
Actress Meryl Streep arrives for the premiere of "The Post" on December 14, 2017, in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) (Photo: AFP Contributor, AFP/Getty Images)
In other countries, journalists must be licensed by the government, which could cause ethical problems when covering the government.
"You're going to have to make judgments," he said. "I look for really smart people who know how to think and have a bit of courage" when hiring.
Journalists bring some of the public's distrust upon themselves, Sanders said. Using unnamed sources, for example, doesn't come across as legitimate.
That's one thing that wasn't accurate in the movie, Gabordi said. FLORIDA TODAY reporters rarely use unnamed sources, and if one is used, Gabordi will always know who it is.
"If you were subpoenaed, would you divulge that source?" asked Laura Petruska of Merritt Island.
"No," said Gabordi.
Things were different in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bennett served in the Navy during Vietnam. He remembers getting spit on while walking through the airport.
Saunders said her husband returned from Vietnam distrusting the government.
"This country now supports our service people," Bennett said. "That's changing now."1968: Yearlong project captures the moments that transformed the nation
As the gathering began to disperse, Cheryl Bennett, Dail's wife, said she really enjoyed the "1968" piece that ran in FLORIDA TODAY earlier this week.
"That was fabulous," she said, adding that young people will read the series and get a better understanding of that era.
The "1968" series, which is a monthly project produced by the USA Today Network, and movies like "The Post" serve as reminders that turmoil and decisiveness are not just modern-day problems.
Email Leonard at email@example.com.
Source : http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2018/01/25/post-brings-discussion/1067470001/1487