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The Fourth Estate reminds us why we need them

The Guardian  |  17 July 2018  |  News

The scene is the New York Times newsroom. The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, is watching the Trump inauguration on television. “Wow,” he murmurs. “What a story. What a fucking story. OK, let’s go.”

Covering the reporters covering Donald Trump, The Fourth Estate is a documentary filmed inside the New York Times over a 16-month period. Over four episodes we see how much the Trump presidency has accelerated the news cycle. The reporters sometimes look as though they have barely had time to brush their hair or do up their ties in order to keep up with the relentless pace that has characterised the Trump White House.

But watching The Fourth Estate from Australia, I found it difficult to do so without applying another lens: that of being a journalist in a time of deep cuts to media organisations.

When we see the five investigative reporters at the Times meet to discuss how they dig into Trump’s Russian connections, the thought that crossed my mind was: could Australian news organisations do the same with the resources they have?


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