Journalism movies: 61 must-see movies for journalists (and 4 series)

I love journalism movies. I recently watched State of Play, a movie about a grumpy old reporter who investigates a billion dollar scandal. He gets some help from a newspaper blogger. The funny situations – ‘I don’t have an opinion, maybe I should read some blogs’ – and the ‘damn fine reporting’ inspired me. They made me realize why I’ve chosen to become a journalist and gave me more energy.

That’s why I asked on Twitter which journalism movies my Twitter contacts liked. They came up with a great list, which I happily share here.In random order, descriptions by IMDB & trailers from YouTube. So next time you’re wondering which movie to see, get inspired by these great journalism movies.

I last updated this post on January 15, 2018. Do you miss a movie? Let me know through email ( or Twitter (I’m @ejpfauth). Here they are, in random order!

The best journalism movies

1. Absence of Malice (1981)

In America can a man be guilty until proven innocent?

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man’s life begins to unravel. (6.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

2. True Crime (1999)

A nail-biting thriller

Can an over-the-hill journalist uncover the evidence that can prove a death row inmate’s innocence just hours before his execution? (6,6 on imdb) – watch the trailer

3. All The President’s Men (1976)

At times it looked like it might cost them their jobs, their reputations, and maybe even their lives.

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
I started the discussion with this movie. 

4. Parallax View (1974)

There is no conspiracy. Just twelve people dead.

An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator’s assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines (7.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

5. Foreign Correspondent (1940)


On the eve of WW2, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

6. Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

A Love Caught In The Fire Of Revolution

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

7. Killing Fields (1984)

He was a reporter for the New York Times whose coverage of the Cambodian War would win him a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. But the friend who made it possible was half the world away with his life in great danger… This is the story of war and friendship, the anguish of a country and of one man’s will to live.

A photographer is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

8. Professione: reporter (1975)

I used to be somebody else…but I traded myself in.

A frustrated war correspondent, unable to find the war he’s been asked to cover, takes the risky path of co-opting the I.D. of a dead arms dealer acquaintance (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

9. Citizen Kane (1941)

365 days in the making – and every minute of it an exciting NEW thrill for you !

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance (8.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer & Jan-Albert Hootsen

10. The Insider (1999)

Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a “60 Minutes” expose on Big Tobacco (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

11. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

We will not walk in fear of one another.

Broadcast journalist ‘Edward R. Murrow (I)’ looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

12. Shattered Glass (2003)

Read between the lies.

The true story of a young journalist who fell from grace when it was found he had fabricated over half of his articles (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo & Jan-Albert Hootsen

13. Infamous (2006)

There’s more to the story than you know

While researching his book In Cold Blood, writer Truman Capote develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith (7.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

14. Control Room (2004)

Different channels. Different truths.

A documentary on perception of the United States’s war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera’s coverage (7.8 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

15. Runaway Jury (2003)

Trials are too important to be decided by juries.

A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer (7.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Steven van Vessum

16. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

Based on a true story. You think we could make all this up?

A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects (7.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Steven van Vessum

17. Final Edition (2007)

After 149 years and 311 days, the Rocky Mountain News published its final edition on February 27, 2009.

Read the story on the website of The Rocky Mountain News. Below is the whole (!) movie.
Suggestion by Joris van Meel

18. Wag the Dog (1997)

A Hollywood producer. A Washington spin-doctor. When they get together, they can make you believe anything.

Before elections, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to “fabricate” a war in order to cover-up a presidential sex scandal (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by @jack_nl

19. Frost/ Nixon (2008)

400 million people were waiting for the truth.

A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by: Jelte Nieuwenhuis & David Noël

20. A Mighty Heart (2007)

It was an event that shocked the world. This is the story you haven’t heard.

Mariane Pearl embarks on a frantic search to locate her journalist husband, Daniel, when he goes missing in Pakistan (6.8 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

21. État de Siège (1972)

A film about a journalist’s inquiry into the Uruguayan junta

In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by a group of urban guerillas (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Give us your brain for two hours and you will never be the same again…..(Icelandic)

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychadelic escapades (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Henriëtte Klijnstra & Arjo

23. Syriana (2005)

Everything is connected

A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it (7.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by David Veneman

24. Capote (2005)

Truman Capote (Hoffman), during his research for his book In Cold Blood, an account of the murder of a Kansas family, the writer develops a close relationship with Perry Smith, one of the killers (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen & Arjo

25. State of Play (2009)

Find The Truth

A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
This movie gave me the idea of making this list

26. Almost famous (2000)

Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don’t fall for it.

A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

27. Live from Baghdad (2002)

The Gulf War, 1991. No story is worth dying for – but this was the story of a lifetime

A group of CNN reporters wrestle with journalistic ethics and the life-and-death perils of reporting during the Gulf War (7.3 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Jan-Albert Hootsen

28. The Hunting Party (2007)

How can they find the world’s most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can’t? [by actually looking]

A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the no. 1 war criminal in Bosnia; they find themselves in serious jeopardy when they are mistaken as a CIA hit squad and their target decides to come after them. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Antonie

29. Harrison’s Flowers (2000)

Sometimes love is the only proof you need.

When a Newsweek photojournalist disappears in war-torn Yugoslavia, his wife travels to Europe to find him. (7.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Alec

30. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Meet New James Bond

James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage. (6.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Lorenz

31. Nothing But the Truth (2008)

Don’t Reveal the Source

In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source. (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Claire

32. His Girl Friday (1940)

She learned about men from him!

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Boy van Dijk

33. Brüno (2009)

Borat was so 2006

Flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno takes his show to America. (6.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Thomas

34. The Constant Gardener (2005)

Love. At any cost.

A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife’s murder, big business, and corporate corruption. (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by eyewhypee

35. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

His news is bigger than your news

Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top rated newsman in the male dominated broadcasting of the 1970’s, but that’s all about to change when a new female employee with ambition to burn arrives in his office. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Zoe

36. Salvador (1986)

Based on a true story

A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 military dictatorship, including the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Peter

37. Zodiac (2007)

There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer

A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer. (7.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by joscha & kamisir

38. La Dolce Vita (1960)

The Sweet Life

Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome’s elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer. (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by joscha

39. Under Fire (1983)

This wasn’t their war but it was their story…and they wouldn’t let it go!

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Michiel Frackers

40. The Pelican Brief (1993)

Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth.

An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. (6.3 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Renato Valdés Olmos

41. Män som hatar kvinnor (2009)

Swedish thriller based on Stieg Larsson’s novel about a journalist and a young female hacker. (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Pawelotti

42. Network (1976)

Not since the dawn of time has America experienced a man like Howard Beale!

A TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by davidus

43. Lions for Lambs (2007)

If you don’t STAND for something, you might FALL for anything

Injuries sustained by two Army ranger behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman, a journalist and a professor (6.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Peter Engel

44. Page One (2011)

Inside the New York Times

Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity (6.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

45. Call Northside 77 (1948)

Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a ten year old murder case.

(7,4 on imdb) – watch the trailer

46. Ace in the Hole (1951)

Treasure seeker trapped in burial vault

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus. (8,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

47. The Front Page (1974)

A Billy Wilder Film

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence. (7,3 on imdb) – watch the trailer

48. Deadline USA (1952)

A tough newspaperman who fights organized crime

With his newspaper about to be sold, crusading editor Ed Hutcheson tries to complete an exposé on gangster Rienzi. (7,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

49. Broadcast News (1987)

It’s the story of their lives

Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly. (7,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

50. Newsies (1992)

They found the courage to challenge the powerful!

A musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are met by the ruthlessness of big business. (6,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

51. The Paper (1994)

A behind-the-lines look at work, marriage and other forms of combat.

Henry Hackett is the editor of a New York City tabloid. He is a workaholic who loves his job, but the long hours and low pay are leading to discontent. Also, publisher Bernie White faces financial straits, and has hatchetman Alicia Clark, Henry’s nemesis, impose unpopular cutbacks. Henry’s wife Martha, a hugely pregnant former reporter of his, is fed up because he has so little time for his family. He is therefore considering an offer from Paul Bladden to edit a paper like the New York Times, which would mean more money, shorter hours, more respectability…but might also be a bit boring for his tastes. But a hot story soon confronts Henry with tough decisions. (6,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by downtownjoe in the comments.
And Maurits Martijn emailed me this essay about The Paper: ‘The Paper’ is the Most Essential and Overlooked Film About Journalism

52. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

The motion picture that will never be forgiven – or forgotten!

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister’s romance with a jazz musician. (8,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

53. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

The most hilarious comedy of the year

A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York City. (6,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer

54. Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)

To get the story, they’ll risk everything!

Journalist Floyd from US, Michael Henderson from UK and their teams meet the beginning of Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports they find an orphanage run by devoted Mrs. Savic near the front line. Henderson gets so involved in kids’ problems that he decides to take on the children, Emira, illegally back to England. He is assisted by American aid worker Nina. (6,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

55. Spotlight (2015)

Break the story. Break the silence

Journalism movies: Spotlight
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. (8,1 on imdb) – watch the trailer

56. Nightcrawler (2014)

When Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

(7,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

57. Citizenfour (2014)

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

(8,1 on imdb) – watch the trailer

58. The Bang Bang Club (2010)

A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

(7,0 on imdb) – watch the trailer

59. Reds (1981)

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

(7,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Léa Mallet-Jemming

60. Kill the Messenger (2014)

Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb, who uncovered a CIA drug scandal.

(7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Norman Stockwell


Those were the journalism movies. Here are 4 series about journalism

1. The Wire, season 5 (2007)

Read between the lines

Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers, and law enforcement (9.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Alper Çuğun: ‘In season 5 the focus is on the inner workings and cutbacks at the Baltimore Sun.’ I’d like to add to that: you gotta love Gus!

Watch The Wire on Amazon
Editor Augustus ‘Gus’ Haynes in The Wire

2. State of Play (2003)

Sometimes you have to read between the lines

A thriller set in London, in which a politician’s life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage drug dealer is shot dead (8.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Tijs Teulings

3. The Newsroom (2012)

Every story needs a final word

A newsroom undergoes some changes in its workings and morals as a new team is brought in, bringing unexpected results for its existing news anchor. (8.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer

4. Good Girls Revolt (2015)

Journalism movies and series: Good Girls Revolt

A look at the personal and professional lives of employees at an American news magazine in the late 1960s.

(8,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Léa Mallet-Jemming: “Set in 1970, it is loosely based on the real story of Newsweek magazine and its female employees, who sued for sex discrimination (only allowing men to become reporters). Sadly the series was cancelled after just one season, despite a very positive reception. And ironically, the decision to cancel was made by a man who now faces allegations of sexual harassment. I am still boiling over.”

61. And one journalism movie to look forward to (now in cinemas):

The Post, by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Are there any good journalism movies missing? Let me know through email ( or Twitter (I’m @ejpfauth).

A short guide to crowdfunding journalism

In the spring of 2013, we raised 1.7M dollars with a crowdfunding campaign for our Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent. Two years later, we still receive invitations from conferences, students and journalists to talk about how we did it.

We feel flattered by these requests. Yet we’re way too busy with our current challenges to honor them all. Our goal of growing our member base to 50,000 requires all our attention.

But De Correspondent wouldn’t exist without our 18,933 crowdfunding backers. That’s why we wrote this guide to journalism crowdfunding. In the hope it might even inspire you to start your own campaign. Continue reading “A short guide to crowdfunding journalism”

How Beau Willimon writes House of Cards

‘Don’t write. Instead, go do something that will make you happy.’

‘You’re still here? Congratulations, you’re a writer. You’d crawl through the desert to tell a story’.

Beau Willimon wrote for theatre for twenty years. Four years ago he had his big break when Netflix purchased two seasons of House of Cards. At SxSW 2015, he gave us some insight on how he writes the episodes. Moreover, he encouraged everyone to keep writing, even though your work isn’t recognized yet. “The important dramatists from a hundred years ago are forgotten. So will you, hundred years from now. But remember, we’re standing on their shoulders. Future writers will be standing on yours.” Continue reading “How Beau Willimon writes House of Cards”

The talk show I always wanted to organize

When the Russian impressario Sergei Diaghilev (1872 – 1929) staged a performance with his Ballet Russes, he sometimes asked Coco Chanel for the costumes. Jean Cocteau wrote the scenario. Pablo Picasso painted the decor. Igor Stravinksy composed the music. Vaslav Nijinsky danced and George Balanchine choreographed.

Just picture that for a moment. All these giants working for the same ballet company. I’d love to organize an evening about the Ballet Russes. Not just to celebrate how ballet can bring all these art forms together. But also to use the company’s big names to attract a new crowd: young people who may have never visited the ballet, but who’d give it a shot when they heard about these unique collaborations from the 1920’s.

That’s why I joined the Steering Committee of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet’s Young Patrons Circle. I know, it’s a mouthful, but our mission is simple: getting people between 21 and 40 interested in opera and ballet. We’ll do this by organizing events around the performances and trips to other companies all over the world.

The Young Patrons Circle of the Dutch National Opera and Ballet

I feel like this is a logical next step for me after organizing Literaturfest, a Dutch literary talk-show where three guests would talk about their favorite book. During our live shows in Amsterdam, we interviewed Donna Tartt about Charles Dickens, Gary Shteyngart about Vladimir Nabokov, Chad Harbach about David Foster Wallace, David Sedaris about George Saunders and Edgar Keret about Kurt Vonnegut. Guest couldn’t just freely use references that half the audience would miss, they really had to talk about what they liked about the book itself. This made it an accessible yet intelligent talk show about literature. Here’s an example:

Ever since then, I enjoy interviewing connoisseurs about their art forms in such a way that everyone can follow what they’re saying. I hope to offer the audience and myself a set of references that helps us in learning to appreciate fine arts.

So now I hope to do the same with the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. I’ll keep you posted on future events. Maybe that evening about the Ballet Russes will be in the cards.

I’ll leave you with a ballet video that went viral this week (how encouraging). Watch Sergei Polunin of the British Royal Ballet dance to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”. David LaChapelle directed the video and Jade Hale-Christofi choreographed the dance.

P.S. If you’re interested in the Ballet Russes and you haven’t this biography of Diaghilev yet, please do so. It’s an incredible account of how Diaghilev literally used everything he got to organize performances. One of the most inspiring books I’ve read in my life.

Bringing journalists and technologists together on February 18th

On February 18th, my colleague Dimitri Tokmetzis and I will talk about how we try to encourage members of De Correspondent to share their knowledge.

We’re invited by Eva de Valk. She organizes Hacks/Hackers, a meet-up that should bring journalists and technologists together. I’m a big fan of this idea, since journalists alone can’t figure out the future of their profession. They’ll need the people who are actually building the new platforms for journalism.

Hacks/Hackers is part of an international organization with chapters worldwide.

Hope to meet you there! Practical info:

De Correspondent and reorganizing a journalistic platform – Hacks/Hackers – Amsterdam (Amsterdam) – Meetup.
Wed Feb 18, 6:00 PM. At the Silk offices, Spuistraat 239-3, Amsterdam


Why I won’t be late to any party anymore (thanks to bitcoin)

Today we are pleased to announce that Coinbase has raised $75 million in Series C financing, the largest funding round to date for a Bitcoin company. This brings our total capital raised to $106 million.

I wonder whether this news will cause the buy price of bitcoin to climb.

I use Coinbase to buy bitcoin. Big fan actually, but lately I’ve started associating it with nosediving. When I bought bitcoin, I think the buying price was around 300 euros, now it’s a mere 180 euros.

In 2011, I worked as chief digital at NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch newspaper company. During that time, almost every developer there bought bitcoin. Had I done so too, I would’ve been close to a millionaire now.

(I’m afraid those developers sold too early, by the way)

Bitcoin, my personal history of shame
Bitcoin, my personal history of shame

Bitcoin pushed me over the edge: I’ll never come late to a party anymore. It happened to me with Twitter, I joined in October 2007 after laughing about it for months. Right when the happy days had ended. And it happened to me with bitcoin. My current policy is to try *everything* that my friends or colleagues consider worth while and see whether it has value for me too. Also, I subscribed to Product Hunt.

As for bitcoin. Smart people like super VC Fred Wilson are believers and I’m impressed by the possibilities of the blockchain and how it can help us to identity ourselves online (without selling our souls to Facebook). I joined in because bitcoin just wouldn’t disappear, and that intrigued me. Is this currency and the technology behind so grand that mere mortals like me won’t understand? So I don’t mind the low value. I just see it as a stake in the future of the web.

I guess that’s the main reason I don’t want to arrive late at a party anymore. It’s not about the money or the number of followers, I just want to understand why these services (or currencies) are so loved by people I know.

Richard Linklater’s films are like therapy

This weekend, I watched three films in a row: Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) & Before Midnight (2013). I had heard about this trilogy, but never got around watching it. Then I found out director Richard Linklater also directed Boyhood (2014). I wanted to see whether these three movies would also captured ‘love’ in the way Boyhood captured the ‘start of our adult lives’.

The Before-trilogy revolves around Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) who meet each other on a train to Vienna. They fall in love right away and Jesse invites Celine to hop off the train in Vienna, even though she’s headed to Paris. She does. What happens in the next eighteen years, is something you should find out yourself.

Part 1 made me feel old, part 2 made me feel glad for the choices I have made in own life and part 3 prepared me for what’s next.

Linklater’s films are like therapy. They help you reflect on your own life and make you realize some of the best things are already behind you, and that you should have enjoyed them more. I don’t regret this, it will just help me appreciating the current beautiful things in life more.

I guess all art helps you reflect on your own life, it’s just that Linklater isn’t very subtle about it. He doesn’t ask a lot from his audience, and I could really appreciate that on a binge-watch Saturday night.

‘Self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others’

Last night I finished reading Joan Didion’s classic essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968). I especially liked the first stories about the stranger side of American society, which she wrote for The Saturday Evening Post. She sings praises for John Wayne, who many considered old-fashioned then, and explains America’s fascination for airplane tycoon Howard Hughes. But the essay that really made a lasting impression, the one that still comes back to me a week later, is On Self-Respect:

“The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others — who are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.”

It serves as a constant reminder that ‘character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.’ You can read the essay on the site of the magazine it originally appeared in: Vogue.

(Photo of Didion taken by the great Jill Krementz, copy/pasted from the Writers at Work collection.)

In response to @ev: these are our metrics for success

I want to go as far as saying that this article by Evan Williams alias @ev – who (co-)founded Blogger, Twitter and Medium – is already a classic, even though it appeared online today.

Because I haven’t seen anyone else explaining the difficulty of measuring the success of a new media company in such a clear way as Williams does.

He shares a great example from his own experience:

Medium had its biggest week ever last week — or so we might claim. By number of unique visitors to, we blew it out of the park. The main driver was a highly viral post that blew up (mostly on Facebook). However, the vast majority of those visitors stayed a fraction of what our average visitor stays, and they read hardly anything.

That’s why, internally, our top-line metric is “TTR,” which stands for total time reading. It’s an imperfect measure of time people spend on story pages. We think this is a better estimate of whether people are actually getting value out of Medium. By TTR, last week was still big, but we had 50% more TTR during a week in early October when we had 60% as many unique visitors (i.e., there was way more actual reading per visit).

TTR is essentially the least worst metric for Medium, Williams writes. And he concludes to say how hard it is to find the right metrics for your new media company.

De Correspondent’s metrics for success

At De Correspondent, we focus on three metrics. We trusted, like Williams says, ‘our gut’ by determining them. Because we’re a subscription-based outlet, this is probably a lot easier for us than for a service like Medium.

  1. How much people sign up for a membership every month (which costs 60 euros a year).
  2. How many members read at least one article per month.
  3. How many members stay with us after year one.

The last couple of months, the average of new members is around a 1,000 per month. And 60 percent of our members read at least one article per month (when logged in). 80 percent of the members don’t cancel their subscription.

Our goal for 2015 is to double the growth of new members per month and to improve the user experience of our platform. We need better navigation, dossiers and, yes, a search feature other than Google. These improvements will hopefully lead to even more active members and a lower cancel rate.