Journalism, as we know it, is in trouble. In the Internet age, newspapers and magazines face near extinction. Newsrooms are shrinking, with foreign bureaus hardest hit. With the rise of blogs, in-depth coverage is being replaced by opinion. If current trends continue, we can expect that in ten years most news organizations will be fully devoted to a round-the-clock regurgitation of “info-tainment.” With the loss of real journalism comes the loss of knowledge and understanding. A healthy and democratic nation will not be able to function, let alone flourish, on this diet of limited information. Reporter is a feature documentary about Nicholas Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, who almost single-handedly put the crisis in Darfur on the world map. The film puts the viewer in Kristof’s pocket, revealing the man and his methods, and just how and why real reporting is vital to our democracy, our world-awareness, and our capacity to be a force for good. But REPORTER has a second agenda. By tracking a newsman, we track his news.
In the summer of 2007, Kristof traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to shine his light into the darkest pockets of conflict and poverty. On this trip, Kristof brought with him two young Americans, a student and a teacher. Their reflections of the heart-wrenching journey were posted alongside Kristof’s bi-weekly columns. Congo is a country in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. To date, 5.4 million people have been killed in Congo over the last decade. The core reason—instability. This is Kristof’s charge—to put Congo on the international agenda. But Nick knows that statistics deaden his readers’ interest and compassion. So to get the world to care, he goes in search of individuals whose stories will reflect the country’s desperate crisis and mobilize readers worldwide. He journeys through ravaged villages and displacement camps, and makes a harrowing visit to Congo’s reigning rebel warlord, General Nkunda, at his jungle hideout.