When I was making the decision to revamp and put more emphasis on the film and film festival news reporting and criticism on Festworks.com (apart from the company’s film and film festival consultation services), one of the reasons I did so was because I feel there is a distinct lack in actual “reporting” now. In other words, rarely do film journalists come to someone like myself looking for a story, or reach out to dig into a subject they want to get more information on. More than 95% of the time, I am sending out a press release and information will be pulled from it or it will literally be cut and pasted into a site and that will be that.
But this past weekend, after I delivered a press release about the first 11 official selections for this year’s Dallas International Film Festival on embargo (meaning journalists receiving it were entrusted not to release, print, or report on that information) until Monday afternoon, I received both an email and then a phone call not long after from Cary Darling of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He was calling to ask about a detail not mentioned or addressed in the press release: Were we screening in the same theater or a different one? Not an earth shaking, secret-spilling question, but relevant and thorough with the reporting.
That was the only inquiry I received. In the emails I sent out to press members like Cary, I offered up addition quotes from Lee Papert, the Dallas Film Society’s Executive Director and James Faust, the Artistic Director, as well as any additional information that I could provide.
One guy emailed and one guy called. Same one in both cases – Cary Darling of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
But wait, there is more – when Cary posted his story, I found several more details beyond what I included in the press release regarding other festivals some of the films had screened at and awards they won, etc. It’s like Cary actually spent some time researching and looking stuff up.
Now, as I throw several journalists under the bus with this post I have to include myself because frankly, on this site, I have been posting press release information in the news section and doing minimal rewriting with no additional information provided. So, in that regard I am no better. Of course, as of the moment I am writing and interviewing and editing almost everything on Festworks.com, but facts are facts and I need to get off my ass too.
The point is this. We need more reporters, more writers, more critics like Cary Darling. We need to ask some additional questions. We need to give a damn about what we are writing. We need to be curious. We need to be journalists.