RPD: Newspapers As Screwball Comedies

84th in a 2022 Series*

Check me on this description of the newsroom: fast movement, frantic pace, eccentric characters, witty, quick barbs, and poking fun at the differences among the social classes, competitive battles among star reporters, and occasionally tension between love and cynicism. Nailed it, right? True confession: I borrowed the characteristics from Turner Classic Movies’ definition of screwball comedies. In my defense, TCM was talking about “newspaper movies” that fit the genre. Come on, screwball captures newspapers, don’t you think? Anyway, TCM went back nearly 90 years to show six classics yesterday (May 11): The Front Page (1931); Front Page Woman (1935); Libeled Lady (1935); Love on the Run (1936); Nothing Sacred (1937); and His Girl Friday (1940). And while much has changed about newspapers over the last century, watching these classics and cheering on today’s journalists have this in common: those who put their people first eventually get the scoop and figure out what’s next. Humor helps, too.

–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project

P.S. Some newspaper association conferences include a movie night where debates about the best newspaper films abound. Here’s a Top 10 list to ignite initial arguments.

*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.

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