Skip to main content

Filmography - The News Media is the Story:: S - Z

The history, ethics, business, and practice of journalism

Titles on DVD and streaming video as of August 2014

The News Media is the Story: The history, ethics, business, and practice of journalism

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of August 2014

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings (including VHS tapes) search the library catalog at:

Saving American journalism. 2011, 1 streaming video file (25 min.).  This program from NOW on PBS asks the question: "Is good journalism going extinct?" David Brancaccio interviews professor Robert McChesney and journalist John Nichols, authors of "The Life and Death of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again." They discuss the fractured audiences, tight budgets, and massive lay offs of reporters that have downsized the fourth estate and harms the public good. The pair has a bold proposal to save noncommercial journalism with government subsidies. Should public journalism get the next government bailout? Streaming video.

Shattered glass. 2004, 1 videodisc (94 min.).  Stephen Glass is a staff writer for the well respected current events and policy magazine 'The new republic'. He was also a freelance writer featured in 'Rolling Stone', 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'George'. By the mid 1990's, Glass' articles had turned him into one of the most sought-after young journalists in Washington. That is until a bizarre chain of events suddenly stopped his career right in its tracks. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 755 

She says: Women in news. 2001, 1 streaming video file (57 min.).  In this classic program, ten pioneering female journalists talk about the difficulty they had breaking into what was once a male-dominated profession. The documentary highlights their struggle to be taken seriously and the impact they eventually had on news reporting. Anna Quindlen recalls the drama of covering Geraldine Ferraro's 1984 bid for vice president, and Nina Totenberg and Narda Zacchino discuss the significance of female journalists reporting on the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hall sexual harassment case. Carole Simpson, the first African-American female network anchor, details how news typically comes from a "white, male perspective" despite the diverse makeup of her own newsroom, and Helen Thomas gives credit to earlier newswomen, such as Barbara Walters, who helped break down barriers. Other participants include Judy Woodruff, Rena Pederson, Judy Crichton, Geneva Overholser, and Paula Madison. (57 minutes). Streaming video.

Sob sisters: The image of the female journalist in popular culture, 1929-2003. 2004?, 1 videodisc (60 min.).  Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture video. Contains 90 movie and television clips tracing the image of the female journalist in films and television from 1929 to 2003. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 2310 

The Spanish American War: Birth of a super power. 1997, 1 videodisc (100 min.).  "As a war, it was small, nasty and suspicious. As news, it was godsend ... revealing look at the power of the press and its often problematic influence in the real world, where reporters can be as effective in spurring events as presenting them." Program looks at the [1898] war as it was "presented to people at that time through the accounts of newspapers nationwide ... [as the] forces, personalities and events of the war that secured America a place on the world stage are relived." - taken from the program's website. DVD 6023 

The tabloid eye. 2000, 1 streaming video file (45 min.).  The New York Daily News made its debut on newsstands on June 26, 1919, and changed the history of journalism. This documentary draws on eight decades of archives to relate the story of this paper, which embraced a powerful, graphic style. Its use of jolting and unrelenting photographic images captured a large, dedicated audience, introducing them to the thrilling world of the night beat. This program includes personal accounts from photographers, reporters, and editors. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. (45 minutes). Streaming video. 

Tabloid! Inside the New York Post. 2011, 1 streaming video file (45 min.).  A&E's Investigative Reports investigates one of New York City's most prominent and controversial newspapers, the New York Post. Host Bill Kurtis takes us inside its offices and looks at the tabloid that covers the gamut from analytical business reporting to vicious celebrity gossip. This documentary interviews staff writers, crime photographer "Calamity" Sam Costanza, and gossip columnist Richard Johnson. Managing Editor Marc Kalech is quoted saying, "We attack people who need attacking." This intriguing look into this kind of "journalism" raises questions about what we call "news.". Streaming video. 

The talking picture: Impact of mass media in Kenya, Mali, South Africa, and Uganda. 2009, 1 streaming video file (47 min.).  The Call of Africa: The Voice of a Continent: Call of Africa. As Africa continues to modernize, the influence of the media in daily life is growing ever larger. This program examines the importance of the press, radio, the Internet, and TV via segments involving the Sowetan, a widely circulated South African newspaper that has its roots in the anti-apartheid struggle; KKC Kagadi, a rural community radio station in Uganda; Kenya-based Africa Online, an Internet service provider with a pan-African reach; and ORTM, the national broadcaster of Malian television. In the process, the program addresses racism, women's issues, grassroots entrepreneurship, access to online information, and the exploitation of street children-particularly twins. Streaming video. 

Television around the World: Iran. 2005, 1 streaming video file (26 min.).  Iranian TV is officially known as the "Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic," but with the majority of airtime dedicated to religion, people have their own name for it--"glass wool," a wry reference to the great number of clerics' beards seen through the screen. This film examines television in Iran, with observations from journalists and activists on the divide between government-sanctioned broadcasts and what viewers really want to watch. Satellite dishes, theoretically banned, allow many to access Persian-language programs from the U.S. that show all that's missing from their own airwaves: music videos, women speaking freely, and pro-democracy transmissions from exiled dissidents. (Portions with English subtitles, 26 minutes).  Streaming video.

Television around the World: Russia. 2005, 1 streaming video file (26 min.).  Russian viewers of all ages are very fond of Zvezda, a channel dedicated to old-fashioned Soviet-era films and TV shows. With its ties to the military, Zvezda runs plenty of footage of tanks, but none of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. By contrast, REN is an uncensored, independent channel that features controversial current affairs programs and, unlike the state-run stations, does not require the Kremlin's approval of its broadcast decisions. Speaking with journalists and media professionals, this film explores the broad scope of Russia's TV programming--which includes comedies, crime shows, and airings of the regular brawls that take place in its parliament--with a focus on the role of politics in its creation. (Portions with English subtitles, 25 minutes). Streaming video. 

Television news. 2005, 1 streaming video file (28 min.).  The Film, TV, and Media Industries How do you juggle journalistic ideals with bottom-line concerns? Each day both local and national TV news operations attempt to report on the day's events in a way that will maximize viewers and advertising dollars. But what is the downside of this tortured calculus? In this program, a wide assortment of news professionals and scholars cast a critical eye on the practices, content, and impact of TV news. Some charge that the race to the ratings jackpot has eroded the integrity and objectivity of newscasters. If this is not so, how does a newfound emphasis on the sensational and pop culture square with their duty to keep viewers informed about important issues of the body politic? Streaming video. 

Tell the truth and run: George Seldes and the American press. 2006, 1 videodisc (111 min.).  A documentary on the life and work of George Seldes, America's most important press critic. The film includes archival footage and photographs, and provides a fresh perspective on 20th century history, while raising profound questions about America's news media. DVD 9050

Thank you, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House. 2008, 1 videodisc (38 min.).  " ... profiles the iconic journalist, a legend in political reporting, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy ... Supplemented by clips of Thomas in action, plus archival photos and footage ..." from Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5403 

That's news to me: Transformation of journalism in a wired society. 2009, 1 streaming video file (28 min.).  What constitutes news in the Digital Age, and who is most qualified to report it? This program takes an insightful look at the growing marginalization of the mainstream press in the face of the digital communication revolution through the eyes of journalists, bloggers, scholars, and the twentysomethings who are driving the consumption and production of news. The merits and liabilities of citizen journalism are weighed, and concerns such as whether Big Media has lost its objectivity or blogging is inherently narcissistic are considered. A blend of skepticism and enthusiasm, That's News to Me makes one point upon which everyone agrees: journalism is fundamentally changing-but will it be for better or worse? Streaming video. 

This reporter. 2005, 1 videodisc (ca. 113 min.).  Edward R. Murrow collection. Hosted by Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather, explores the life and groundbreaking work of Edward R. Murrow, America's most esteemed broadcast journalist. DVD 1405 

Toxic sludge is good for you: The public relations industry unspun. 2003, 1 videodisc (45 min.).   Tracks the development of the PR industry from early efforts to win popular American support for World War I to the role of crisis management in controlling the damage to corporate image. The video analyzes the tools public relations professionals use to shift our perceptions including a look at the coordinated PR campaign to slip genetically engineered food past public scrutiny. DVD 5686 and Streaming video. 

Truth merchants: Public relations and the media. 2003,  1 videodisc (45 min.).  In a society based on a free press, animosity often exists between public relations professionals and the media. This video examines the friction between the two professions as the so-called spinners wield an increasing influence over the media and the stories produced. DVD 1307 

TV news: Writing and editing the story. 2005, 1 streaming video file (38 min.).  The footage has been shot and the clock is ticking. How does a television news reporter put together an interesting and informative story in today's hurry-up media marketplace? This program discusses the steps involved in preparing reports for the TV news: logging tapes; structuring the story; editing, including the techniques and relative benefits of linear and nonlinear editing; writing commentary; and creating a soundtrack. On-screen lists of key points summarize each section, and before-and-after sequences clearly demonstrate the differences between stories that really communicate and stories that miss the mark. Streaming video. 

Understanding media literacy. 2007, 1 streaming video file (35 min.).  Media Literacy. TV and radio commercials, Web sites and banner ads, magazine ads, pop songs, photos, and even news articles and textbooks: all of them are sending messages to influence the reader/viewer/listener. How do they grab the attention? What are they selling-a product or service? a lifestyle? an ideology?-and why? Would a different media consumer interpret the message differently? This program raises more questions than it answers, which is the whole point: to prompt students to question, question, question the messages they are bombarded with daily. Savvy media consumers aren't born; they're made, and this program is an excellent tool for shaping the classroom dialogue. Streaming video. 

The unelected media.  2005, 1 streaming video file (40 min.).  The People and the Power Game In an environment increasingly dominated by network ratings and tabloid-driven stories, the line between journalism and entertainment is blurred. In this program, correspondent Hedrick Smith goes behind the hype and the headlines to show how the media affect the national agenda and the standards of political debate. Network personalities Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Brit Hume, and Eric Engberg; former Washington Post reporters Paul Taylor and Richard Harwood; and others address topics such as the Clinton/Flowers story, a case study of news coverage gone out of control; the negative dynamic between the White House Press Corps and the President; and how increased competition from tabloids, talk shows, and cable TV is changing the mainstream media. Streaming video. 

Veillees d'armes histoire du journalisme en temps de guerre = The troubles we've seen : a history of war-time journalism . 2005, 3 videodiscs (ca. 224 min.).  The film follows Marcel Ophul's two journeys to Sarajevo in 1993. He goes there to work on a documentary but ends up also learning about truth and life. The film contains many interviews with journalists and reporters including Christiane Amanpour, John Burns, and Martha Gelhorn. DVD 10959

Vying for viewers: Cable news war. 2007, 1 streaming video file (13 min.).  The Changing Face of the News Media. When CNN debuted, a 24/7 TV news channel seemed like a radical idea. Two decades later, the spread of 24-hour news networks has validated the concept while generating intense inter-network competition for audience share and advertising revenue. In this program, NewsHour correspondent Terence Smith reports on the infighting between CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox News Channel. CNN's Reese Schonfeld, the father of 24-hour news; Judy Woodruff, CNN's prime anchor; MSNBC anchor Brian Williams; Fox News' Kim and Brit Hume; and others discuss the evolution and future prospects of "news on demand. Streaming video. 

War made easy: How presidents & pundits keep spinning us to death. 2008, 1 videodisc (72 min.).  "... exposes how presidential administrations of both parties have relied on a combination of deception and media complicity to sell one war after another to the American people. Narrated by actor Sean Penn, and based on the acclaimed book by Norman Solomon, the film exhumes five decades of remarkable archival footage to reveal in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated, and glamorized, the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations. The film gives special attention to parallels between the Vietnam War and Iraq, setting government spin and media collusion from the present alongside virtually identical patterns from the past. An invaluable introduction to war propaganda and public relations that transcends politics as it raises serious questions about the role of journalism and political commumication in democratic societies."--Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5228 and Streaming video. 

War on whistleblowers: Free press and the national security state. 2013, 1 videodisc (66 min.).  Highlights four cases where whistleblowers noticed government wrongdoing and took to the media to expose the fraud and abuse. It exposes the surprisingly worsening and threatening reality for whistleblowers and the press. Includes interviews with whistleblowers Michael DeKort, Thomas Drake, Franz Gayland Thomas Tamm and award-winning journalists like David Carr, Lucy Dalglish, Glenn Greenwald, Seymour Hersh, Michael Isikoff, Bill Keller, Eric Lipton, Jane Mayer, & more. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5091 

War reporters. 2012, 1streaming video file (52 min.).  Competitive journalism makes reporters take greater and greater risks in order to satisfy the public's appetite for more dramatic reality. Why do they do it? And how? Michael Nicholson, ITN's most prolific war reporter, considers the fears and ethical dilemmas that confront the war correspondent daily; Martha Gellhorn, the first American woman war reporter, speaks of the need to "keep a record"; Robert Fisk recalls the discredit that the coverage of World War I brought to the journalism profession, and stresses the need to "stay in the front line in Beirut"; Tim Page, photographer extraordinaire and war junkie turned pacifist, speaks of the trauma of Vietnam; Nick Downie, cameraman/reporter, considers the difficulty of convincing news organizations of the need to analyze as well as film blood and death; and reporter/cameraman Neil David describes his work in Vietnam and Cambodia, which ultimately cost him his life. Streaming video. 

War spin: Media and Iraq war. 2005, 1 streaming video file (46 min.).  Some stories are simply too good to be true. In this program, John Kampfner, political editor for the New Statesman (London), skewers heroic reports of the ambush, capture, and rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, calling them misrepresentations designed to bolster wavering support for the Iraq War. Kampfner also scrutinizes the controversial practice of embedding members of the news media in military units and questions the sincerity and overall informational value of the daily CentCom briefings in Doha. An ideal springboard for discussions about propaganda, media ethics, and journalism in the modern combat zone. Streaming video. 

Watch what you say: Free speech in times of national crisis. 2006, 1 streaming video file (43 min.).   In America, freedom of speech is a cherished fundamental right. Must it be curtailed during emergencies or wars? In this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel and correspondent John Donvan explore the penalties of political dissent in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. News footage and a round table discussion with media personalities, journalists, and others who have suffered the consequences of voicing unpopular opinions reveal a disturbing yet unsurprising intolerance for such comments during a period of national crisis. Streaming video. 

When journalism gets a black eye: Scandals and the fourth estate. 2006, 1 streaming video file (23 min.).  What are the long-term effects of journalism scandals? When the public's trust is damaged, what can the Fourth Estate do to repair it? And how is technology affecting journalism in the 21st century? To speak to those points, this ABC News program turns to recent cases such as the notorious 60 Minutes Wednesday incident involving George W. Bush's national guard record. Two related journalistic issues are also discussed: the growing influence of new media (it was a blog that first questioned the authenticity of the anti-Bush documents) and the opportunism of right-wing media, which accused CBS of pursuing a political agenda in reporting such a story at the height of the 2004 presidential campaign. Streaming video. 

Witness to hate: Reporting on al Qaeda. 2006, 1 streaming video file (22 min.).  As Islamist extremists pumped bullets into BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, he "looked into their faces and.saw pure hatred, ruthless hatred." Fluent in Arabic, respectful toward Islam, and very at home in Saudi Arabia, Gardner had been reporting on al Qaeda activity when he and his cameraman were gunned down. In this ABC News program, Gardner recounts with quiet courage the events of that terrible day and the challenges he has faced along the road to partial recovery. For insights into anti-Western feelings in the Middle East and a vivid first-person account of reporting the war on terror, this video is not to be missed. Streaming video.

WMD Weapons of mass deception. 2004, 1 streaming video file (57 min.).  According to investigative journalist Danny Schechter, the U.S. conducted two wars in Iraq in 2003: one was a military assault, and the other was a media assault on the American public, or what he calls "jingoism posing as journalism." In this carefully-researched documentary, Schechter argues that the Pentagon employed classic propaganda techniques to control media coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Schechter uses insider interviews and a wealth of news clips to explain how the Pentagon pulled it off and why the media complied. From Jessica Lynch's manufactured hero story to the Lynndie England torture photos to the bogus reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Schechter builds a case that is corroborated by respected mainstream news sources. With commentary from Peter Arnett and reporters from The Nation, ABC News, BBC, Fox News, and People. Some content may be objectionable. (57 minutes). DVD 1415 and Streaming video. 

Working in media. 2011, 1 streaming video file (21 min.).  Being part of a team that produces film, TV, or digital content-it's one of the most satisfying jobs in the world. But it also requires hard work, long hours, and a fine-tuned ability to communicate and collaborate. Taking an overview approach, this program explores the challenges and rewards of working in the media industry. Viewers learn about the skill sets of a wide range of creative and administrative personnel, from on-camera to front-office positions, without which a media production or company can't function. The video also discusses the profound technological changes that have taken place in the media industry during recent years and provides tips for effective communication in a creative, team-driven environment. Streaming video.

The world is watching. 1987, 1 videodisc (59 min.).  Explores the ways that print and broadcast media coverage of the conflict in Nicaragua affects the public's perceptions and policy development in the United States and other countries. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6779

The world stopped watching. 2003, 1 videodisc (82 min.).  Peter Raymont's 1987 documentary "The World Is Watching" followed four journalists at work in Nicargua during the height of the Contra war against the Sandinistas. Thirteen years later in "The World Stopped Watching" Raymont follows journalists Bill Gentile and Ry Ryan during their return to Nicaragua to track down the people they interviewed before and learn how the country has meanwhile changed for better or worse. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8250