The New York Times is considered one of the most influential newspapers in the nation, and that liberal daily has a circulation of more than four million subscribers. However, executives at the Times have been unhappy with being a favorite target of President Trump, who has accused the paper of being a huge purveyor of “fake news.”
As a result, the newspaper is producing a documentary-style TV series entitled The Weekly that will debut on the FX cable channel in June. This sounds less like a documentary than an infomercial. It's like "FX will air a new series produced by Ford on how Ford automobiles are made."
Each half-hour episode will focus on a different Times reporter and a different story while taking audiences behind the scenes to “show the power of journalism,” which is “under assault in a way that it never has been before.”
That's funny, one might forget the Obama administration. They could make a Very Special Episode with their former reporter James Risen.
According to an article posted on Tuesday by Jason Lynch at Adweek magazine, the Times “has has been branching out into other platforms over the past few years, including digital and podcasts” but “is preparing to take one of its biggest swings yet” with the 30-episode series.
Executive Producer Ken Druckerman stated: “With each episode, we’re going to take you on a different ride, … where you never know quite what to expect.”
Times Assistant Managing Editor Sam Dolnick noted:
The White House is attacking the credibility of journalists every day. We think now, more than ever, we need to stand up for journalism.
[A]nd that the best way to do that is to be transparent and show how the sausage gets made, how we know what we know, why we do what we do, and the lengths we go to confirm the news that we’re reporting.
“The mission of The Weekly is to find big, signature, enterprise stories that we’re going to put on the map,” Dolnick noted. “Whether they’re investigations or features, it’s stories that nobody else is telling,” he continued. “Sometimes they’ll be coordinated with print. Sometimes they won’t be. They’ll be just living on their own.”
Not surprisingly, the series will not just focus on the White House, Lynch stated.
“We don’t want this to just be what happened in the West Wing this week,” said Dolnick. “There is so much happening in other stories that the New York Times cares about immensely, and The Weekly’s going to be going after those.”
Another participant in the cable program is Caitlin Dickerson, a national immigration reporter for the Times, who stated:
As a writer, one of my biggest challenges is drawing the audience in and using as much detail as possible to make them feel like they’re in the room with me, watching these important, powerful scenes play out.
And now I can actually literally bring them into the room.
The new program comes on the heels of the $10 million ad the Washington Post aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl in an attempt to “recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world.”
Nevertheless, the big question remains: Can these expensive efforts boost these newspapers’ status with the public, or will the Times and the Post still be considered by many as peddlers of fake news?