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Prof: "What journalism needs is…An Inconvenient Truth for journalism"

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But as that's not the way the public today views "the press," says Robert Thompson, head of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. The public lumps reporters in general "right down there with lawyers, coincidentally another profession that's vital to the function of a democracy," Thompson says. And two movies alone won't raise their stature.

"You have to have a succession of movies showing the press in this light, and the fact that it's in danger, to truly make people aware of what the death of newspapers might mean."

Even if State of Play and The Soloist are both hits, Thompson says, something more direct is needed to shift the zeitgeist.

"What journalism needs is a GREAT documentary on the subject to motivate public opinion, An Inconvenient Truth for journalism…If a movie like that came out about the newspaper industry, pummeling us with arguments and data, and is gripping in how it presents the apocalyptic threat to democracy…that it gets people talking about that, that would be really useful." But even if that Inconvenient movie were in theaters today, "it might be too late. Let's face it, a lot of that newspaper 'icecap' has melted."