Headlines, newspapers and Watchmen

watchmen-cover1The “Watchmen” movie, which has divided critics, is noteworthy for its gloomy worldview and brutal violence. It’s also noteworthy for its prominent use of print media.

Not only are plot points revealed through headlines (a common technique in the movies), but characters are seen clutching newspapers. Front pages are framed and hung as art. “Watchmen” even has a newsroom scene involving an ornery newspaper editor.

The print-heavy focus is appropriate to the movie’s setting, a twisted vision of 1985 America. In this reality, the United States won the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon is still president.

In “Watchmen,” the newspaper (and to a lesser extent, television) is a signficant conduit of information. (Perhaps that was reality in 1985.) That emphasis is not surprising, considering that the book that the movie is based on included a mockup of a newspaper page similar to what may have been seen in a composing room at the time.

It all makes the movie a little more interesting for anyone who’s ever written a headline or laid out a newspaper page. If “Watchmen” isn’t for you, try these movies that portray newspapers of the future.


One Comment

  1. “Children of Men” has great shots of futuristic newspapers (compared to now) recounting events as the world crumbles. Actually, with some of those events, they’d help newspapers’ prospects.

    Usually, newspaper headlines in movies make me laugh at how bad they get it wrong, especially in leaving multiple columns worth of white space.

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