Carr, Stelter answer questions about media, New York Times at SXSW “Page One” documentary screening

Page One,” a movie about The New York Times, was screened at SXSW on Friday night. Steve Myers attended the screening and the Q&A that followed with David Carr and Brian Stelter and recorded the conversation, which we are publishing below (accompanied by the sound of Steve typing).

Documentary director Andrew Rossi spent 14 months with the media reporters at the Times. The movie premiered at Sundance in January, to positive reviews.

Here are some highlights from their SXSW conversation, which included a discussion of Arianna Huffington and AOL, NPR, the New York Times pay wall and more.

  • Rossi: “Bill Keller … after much discussion, said, ‘I’m really proud of what my writers do. And I would like the world to see it.’ “
  • Carr: “I don’t know how you talked them into it. We had just gotten past the thing where Jon Stewart came from ‘The Daily Show’ and I was one of the people who said, ‘That would be great.’ We looked like total idiots on ‘The Daily Show.’ “
  • Carr: “If we borrowed something from Arianna and AOL that would certainly be a reversal.”

More highlights from the Q&A:

  • Stelter: “Who was in Tokyo this morning? It was The New York Times, it was The Wall Street Journal. It was [inaudible] AP, Reuters, and to a lesser extent NBC and CNN. That’s it, right? Huffington Post wasn’t there and AOL wasn’t there. That’s not to say they don’t do a great job of showing the event, right? They curate great photos. … And they put a better headline on it than we do. But they weren’t there in the first place.”
  • Carr: “I love Arianna and she built out the most amazing modern media brand I’ve seen in the shortest amount of time.”
  • Carr: “Part of the reason that I love this movie is … the fact that Bruce [Headlam] is there to give our thoughts shape and give them rigor. You’ll never see in a journalism movie actual editors — who are a craven, horrible species but have their uses — shown doing the work. I love that about this film. The deliberation. The work. And the back and forth.”
  • Stelter: “What’s true about our pay wall that’s coming very soon is that we’re going to have to depend on those loyalists to be the ones to pony up money. As we become more two-way with readers, hopefully they’re the ones who will be willing to pay. I don’t think we’ll go anywhere near the NPR model as it is right now, but those loyalists are going to be important.”