Saturday, September 8, 2007

Does Richard Gere Make Journalists Look Too Cool? Or Is He Making Us Look Like Fools?

THIS IS THE trailer for the new film The Hunting Party starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard. Gere plays a war correspondent in post war-torn Bosnia and Howard is the cameraman.

The two learn about one of the most wanted war criminals so they decide to track down the bad guy themselves.

The story is based on a true story of journalists who went to Bosnia in 2000 in search of Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian military leader accused of genocide. Among the group was journalist and author Scott Anderson, who wrote about their adventures for Esquire magazine. The movie is loosely based upon that essay.

Watch the trailer and think about these questions: Is this what journalists are supposed to do? Do we solve crimes or do we report on them? Shouldn't the journalists have simply turned information over to authorities? If they went to authorities and they didn't respond properly, shouldn't that actually be the story?

Or do journalists have the responsibility to solve mysteries if no one else will?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE! But seriously, The Hunting Party seems to say a lot about the complicated position of a journalist. On one hand there is the threat of danger when digging too deep into a situation. Yet on the other hand there is an instinctive sense of needing to get the whole story, in spite of the perils involved. Looking at the situation from the outside, it seems right to say that a journalist’s job is to report a story, and that it should end there. However, what's considered the complete story is debatable. Who is to say that covering the war in Bosnia does not include tracking down the bad guys? An integral part of being a journalist is to report stories, yes, but if the outcome of reporting a story is solving a crime, then that is possibly the highest form of reporting there is because it offers another piece of the whole story.
Even further, I don't think that the journalist should have turned the information over to the authorities. If they had gone to the authorities and said, "Hey, this bad guy is out there killing people and we want you to stop him," and the authorities failed to handle the situation properly it would be like doing only half the job. By doing this, the journalist would have been surrendering their responsibility to relay vital information to the public.

Anonymous said...

In Vietnam, when reporters were sometimes given guns, were they then considered soldiers? It is inherently a confusing situation;the battle between reporting the news and being responsible for creating the news story. In this case, the journalists felt responsible for exposing the problem. Maybe morality and bravery is merely another feature of journalism.

-Matthew Daddona

Donnie said...

I will say with a resounding "BLEEP YEA" journalists should solve crimes. Dig deeper, find the truth, go where others won't because the truth is, journalists relay information, but we can make a difference too. I believe that you should never leave to someone else your own work or what you can do. Theres no reason a journalist can't share information with the government and keep digging. Let's be honest, sometimes it takes one man to make a real difference.

Amanda Carden said...

I think that there are no set rules or roles for journalists when there is real danger, if a journalist is very passionate about a story they should as involved as possible. But, I think that it is their responsbility to turn information in to authorites and if the authorities dont act on it, the journalist should do it themselves. Not telling authorities about a dangerous situation could do so much harm, at least then they could say "Well, i told them about it and they didnt do anything so I had to." If a disaster happened and the journalist said " Oh yeah I knew about that danger and didnt tell anyone because I wanted to do it myself", they would be the bad guy.

Chris said...

I'm not sure the last Hollywood movie I saw that I thought would be accurately portraying events, without putting their own spin on it. I think this movie looks entertaining and will probably see it, but it's Hollywood.

I think a journalist's obligation is to the truth. Uncovering the truth, getting the truth, reporting the truth, telling the truth. Journalists are not the detectives, the courts, the judges, or juries. Take the information and turn it over to the proper authorities. If they don't do their job, report that...

Geo said...

So, educated consumers of the media ... does this trailer make you want to be a journalist? Doesn't journalism look thrilling?

- George (the teacher)

Colleen Reese said...

Well, we can't really sit around idle, twiddling our thumbs for the government's sake. The media maintains vast networks and influences entire peoples! But I always believed that if someone had the ability to do good, then they should be doing it.
But we are not the enforcers. Our job is to make sure that the enforcer's job is getting done and then report on it. I think only when the government turns its back on an issue like this, is it the journalists' job to pick up the slack--mostly because they are the ones who will get the public involved in causes that need attention. And then perhaps it'll trickle up from there.

John D. said...

Hmmm... so now journalist = James Bond? Where do i sign?
Of course it must be a complete dramatization though... Anyway i think journalists should report EVERYTHING from authorities being unresponsive to their what they went through to get their information. Journalists are supposed to make it interesting, right?

Katie Harrelson said...

As a journalist, one's job is to find the truth and report it to the public. It is not their responsibility to "solve mysteries" it's their responsibility to find out about the mysteries and tell others about them. But, I think it is human nature to want to do it yourself. A journalist will investigate and the deeper they get into a story, the more personal and involved they feel, so they want to solve it themselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of this movie i think it can be. DOn't get me wrong, I really want to see this movie, but it seems way blown out of proportion and looks like it will make journalism appear way more "thrilling" than realistic-but thats hollywood.
If only there were a way to make Hollywood more realistic...oxymoron??

davonne said...

no it is not the journalists job to solve crimes. i agree that the information they obtained finding the criminals where-abouts, the interview, and any other information should have been turned over to authorities. Their story lies in the reaction of our government and/or the testimony of the criminal joint with interviews with gov't officials etc. in this trailer it looks like they're CSIs with cameras and microphones seeking a little thrill.

im sure war coverage is dangerous, as it is depicted but im sure this film is dramatized a tad.

Anonymous said...

In a civilized society, everybody has an obligation to the well being of the community. While a journalist is paid to report the truth as he/her sees it, it does not release them from the larger responsibility we all share to the common good, i.e. report the injury or fire, yank the kid off the tracks, report suspicious activity, etc. Unfortunately only in Hollywood could the need for a paycheck become secondary to the passionate persuit of justice!

Stacy said...

What if Bernstein and Woodward had just reported their information to the authorities and left it at that? I think that it most definitely is the reporters job to solve mysteries if no one else will. I also think that in a lot of cases it's necessary to solve a crime in order to properly report it with accurate facts. I don't know about any of you but I'd be much more likely to trust a journalist than the police