The New York Times can easily be called one of the most respected newspapers in the world. It has been a pillar of journalism in American history and its influence on American culture cannot simply be overstated. NYT’s show on FX, ‘The Weekly’, brings their philosophy to the television. The show depicts exactly what the journalists working for the publication do. News covered in ‘The Weekly’ is not just daily news that we see on news shows and read in the newspapers. It is more about an incident that unfolds in front of the camera. The ever-increasing market for documentary shows has reached quite a zenith, as now even newspapers like NYT are also joining the bandwagon. However, with the increasing dependence on audiovisual and digital mediums, it was only a matter of time before publications moved on to such formats.
It must be remembered that this is not the first attempt by The New York Times to head beyond their print journalism in trying to do something different. Before ‘The Weekly’, they also created a podcast show called ‘The Daily’, which helped in bringing a sea of the change to the essay format usually used in news podcast shows.
The Weekly Cast: Who is in it?
The cast of ‘The Weekly’ comprises of mostly the journalists of the New York Times. Here, we get to see how journalists work behind a story, what their inspirations are, and the degree of personal sacrifices they put to bring the truth to the forefront. In the first episode, we see journalists Katie Benner and Erica L. Green trying to break an educational fraud story before their competitors. This one episode took eight months and a total of 60 hours worth of filming to be completed. Jason Stallman, who is the editor of ‘The Weekly’, says, “We think that one of the distinguishing features of this show will certainly be the reporters and how they navigate these stories. These reporters are not robots. They’re human beings who are torturing themselves to be as careful and conscientious as possible.” ‘The Weekly’ does not have any particular host who appears in every episode and takes the narrative forward. Each episode has different journalists who work on a particular story.
The Weekly Plot: What is it about?
Each episode of ‘The Weekly’ focuses on an important piece of news from the week gone by, with each of them lasting for about 30 minutes, showing how the reporters came across the news, how they plan to break it, and what is the investigation that goes on behind the scenes. Sam Dolnick, a member of the team of New York Times staff who is behind their audiovisual projects, says, “The big motivation for this show was to help stories bring journalism to people who may not read the New York Times, to broaden our audience and help more and more people understand what we think are important issues that the public needs to grapple with”.
In the first episode of the show, we see journalists exposing the illegal activities a certain school in Louisiana is carrying out by sending out fake college applications for their students. Moreover, there have also been reports that the school is physically and mentally abusing some of their pupils. When Erica L. Green and Katie Benner talk to some of the students, they come to know that the school usually cooks up tales of hardships using the stereotypes usually associated with African-Americans, and tries selling such stories to major Ivy League colleges.
The reporters spent a number of days in Louisiana, taking interviews of students at their homes, trying to get a clear picture of what the school and its authorities were up to. They even interview the principal of the school who obviously denies all such accusations. Later episodes of ‘The Weekly’ season 1 focus on the problem of terrorism in Tajikistan, the inauguration of Donald Trump as the President of America, the story of a couple who get separated from their child at the southern border of the United States, problems with New York’s taxi service, and so on.