When the iconic film Broadcast News was released in 1987, director James L. Brooks gave audiences a well-researched and honest look at how network news was changing. Some say it served as a warning of how an increasing emphasis on attractive anchors and entertainment-driven ideas were growing at the expense of quality journalism. Did the film predict the future of the news industry?

In a recent interview published in The Ringer, Brooks said he doesn't think his film created a lens for the future in the same way as did a film like Network. Instead, he said, with Broadcast News "the future was beginning to happen." Our guests discuss the film 30 years after its release, and if and how it rings true today. In studio:

  • Adam Chodak, anchor and managing editor for WROC-TV
  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president of television and news for WXXI
  • Rebecca Leclair, owner of Leclair Communications, and former television news anchor and reporter

Is “fake news” our own fault? Mike Johansson says in many ways, it is. He's a lecturer of communication at RIT with experience in a number of newsrooms.

We talk about who's to blame, and what we can do to stop being so susceptible. Our guests:

As more women are speaking out about sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace and beyond, women in the media industry — specifically, television news — are sharing their stories of how they’ve been harassed by viewers. It’s a pervasive problem, with women discussing how the men and women who watch them make inappropriate comments about their appearances, clothing, personalities, and more. Anchors and reporters say the comments are offensive, disgusting, and racist.

We’re joined by local reporters who share what they’ve experienced. Our guests:

When reports surfaced that not even BuzzFeed was meeting its earnings targets, young journalists might have wondered: is there a future in this field for me? BuzzFeed has been among the hottest media properties. If the strongest players are struggling, what does that mean for students considering journalism as a career?

We discuss job prospects and the news media landscape. In studio:

This year's Pulitzer Prize committee recognized some of the smallest newspapers in the country with awards. The Storm Lake Times in Iowa and the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia won Pulitzers for their investigative reporting and editorial work.

We talk to the awardees about small town journalism and the value of print reporting. Our guests:

  • Art Cullen, co-owner and editor of the Storm Lake Times
  • Eric Eyre, statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail
  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle

We convene a panel of journalists to discuss how things are covered and what is covered at all. Megyn Kelly from NBC News took a lot of criticism when she decided to interview conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And what about journalists who have interviewed Richard Spencer, the white nationalist?

Our panel discusses who journalists should interview and why. Our guests:  

A conservative writer, Kevin Williamson, recently published a piece for National Review titled "How to Read the Newspaper." It's probably not what you think. Williamson writes that we're in a dangerous time when large swaths of the population reflexively declare any news story they don't like to be "fake news." He puts his fellow conservatives at the top of that list: "It is cheap, it is cowardly, and it is bad citizenship to simply shreik ' fake news!' every time reality forces a hard choice upon us," Williamson writes, adding that mainstream newspapers do not "traffic in fiction."

Do local newspaper writers fear that a growing population rejects their work out of hand? We find out with our guests from the Democrat & Chronicle:

Our guest, Robin Givhan, is the only person to win a Pulitzer Prize for fashion criticism. Writing for the Washington Post, Givhan took apart then-Vice President Dick Cheney's attire during a ceremony to mark the liberation of Auschwitz. She wrote, "The vice president was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower." And while diners in high-end restaurants routinely wear jeans and t-shirts, Givhan believes that changing norms do not absolve world leaders of solemnly marking occasions with their own fashion choices.

She's coming to Syracuse University this week, but first she joins us to talk about her work, her book, and where we should draw the line when it comes to critiquing what someone else is wearing.

  • Robin Givhan, fashion editor for the Washington Post
  • Eric Grode, director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University

In the media world, journalists aim to cover the news, not become news. They work to gain trust and access to key sources and stories, not become barred and banned from voices the public needs to hear from. Restricting media outlets from access to politicians, law enforcement agents, education leaders and others is an ongoing problem for journalists, including those in the Rochester region. On this edition of Need to Know, Rochester journalists and news directors dig into the access issue beyond the headlines as of late.

How much should journalists rely on anonymous sources? Every organization treats this issue with its own standards. There is not a single rule or guideline. Some newsrooms are weighing whether to scrap reporting if no sources will go on the record. Others, like the New York Times, run entire stories based on conversations with anonymous sources -- for example, the recent controversial piece about Trump's selection for Energy Secretary, Rick Perry.

In the age of Trump, there might be more temptation to use anonymous sources, as reporters try to peel back what's going on in Washington. What should the standards be? Our guests: