Circuit Q&A: Which News Figure Needs A Documentary?


The line between news and entertainment is more blurred than ever. People want their news delivered in as entertaining a fashion as possible and the result is increasingly compelling media figures who deliver the stories of our times. But despite how entertaining some of these people are, how much is really known about them? Which news figures would make for the best documentary subjects? That is the question of the day.

One branch of news figures that might be worth a documentary are the classic anchors. Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Edward R. Murrow all fall into this category. Murrow was actually featured in the historical drama, “Good Night, and Good Luck” in 2005, but a biographical documentary could dig deeper into his WWII rise and battles with Senator Joseph McCarthy.

For more modern news figures, Dan Rather, Brian Williams and Peter Jennings all had storied careers with enough drama to fill an interesting documentary. Rather’s time as CBS’s main anchor ended with controversy over unauthenticated documents presented in a news report. Williams faced controversy over fabrications that ultimately caused his downfall as well. Sadly, Jennings’ career ended with his premature death from lung cancer in 2005. Together, they formed the “big three” anchors who helmed the broadcast news programs from the 1980s into the 2000s. Given their linked histories, it is possible a documentary covering all three of them could make for an interesting watch.

In print media, legendary figures like Graydon Carter, S.I. Newhouse and Katharine Graham all have compelling stories. Carter was editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair for 25 years and has recently been in the headlines with allegations related to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Newhouse was the billionaire head of media empire, Condé Nast. And Graham was the Pulitzer Prize winning heiress who led The Washington Post through the Watergate era and beyond. She was a central figure in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” in 2017, but her story could make for a compelling documentary.

But there is one media figure that stands above all others when it comes to having a unique background. If you consider her a “news figure,” Oprah Winfrey is unparalleled when it comes to having a fascinating story. Born into rural poverty and rising to become one of the most powerful figures in media, hers is a story of overcoming insurmountable odds.

Newer news figures like Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon and Ronan Farrow might all make for compelling subjects, but we want to hear from you!

Who do you think would be the best news figure to be the subject of a documentary? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!