Sunday, August 1, 2010

Midnight Discussions: The Insider

By Brenda Duman (Brooklyn, NY)

With the amount of walking we do to and from events, SJPers had plenty of opportunities to admire the Princeton campus and the weather on Saturday. From walking to breakfast to sitting on the steps of the Woodrow Wilson Building with my newspaper team, "The New York Times," I certainly enjoyed the forecast and simply getting to better know fellow SJPers.

Aside from the nice weather and packed schedule, we had the treat of watching a movie in the evening called The Insider. Although we arrived later than expected, SJPers settled down in the last couple of rows of a lecture hall in Friend’s Center to watch the movie.

From the opening scene to the last, we were all riveted by the story of Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a CBS reporter with all the characteristics of a good journalist we had discussed in the morning workshop with Richard. The movie essentially consisted of three stories: first, we find Bergman in Lebanon speaking with the Hezbollah for a 60 Minutes special; then we watch as Bergman tries to convince his informant, Jeffrey Wigand, a former chemist for a huge tobacco company, to disclose information about the wrongdoings of the tobacco industry. Finally, The Insider ends with the arrest of the Unibomber.

The movie was a great film choice because it raised many journalistic questions, from what is ethical in journalism to what you would do if you had to choose between upsetting certain (powerful) people or informing the public of a vital public health issue. In general, I would say most, if not all of us, in SJP liked the film. There were times during the movie when we gasped together, laughed together, and snapped our fingers together. (That scene with the Mississippi prosecutor had us doing all three.)

Although we were all tired by the end of the movie, we still managed to hang in there and have a group discussion about the questions raised in the film and the elements we found either realistic or unrealistic. So, a group discussion at midnight? That tells you something about the kind of people SJPers are, I’m proud to say.


  1. In the words of Lisa Jose, "Ill have to put it on my Netflix queue. "

  2. Independence Day is still a better movie :)