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Breaking News, Breaking Down is a documentary about “journalists who believe they are the eyes and ears of society, never imagining what that might do to their minds.” Former WUSA anchor Mike Walter is the director, narrator, and occasional subject of the doc, discussing the emotional turmoil he experienced after witnessing and reporting on the 9/ 11 Pentagon attack. A self-declared “jaded journalist,” Walter was startled to find himself fighting back tears during interviews; soon, he learned of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a group that supports members of the media who cover events from Katrina to everyday violence. Much of this 36-minute documentary takes place in New Orleans, where some journalists have found peace of mind by helping to rebuild a still-devastated city. Breaking News, Breaking Down is inherently gripping, which is why its biggest failing is Walter’s tendency to overembellish—the story doesn’t need dramatic music, frozen and colorized shots, or trite comments like “I found Dart Center, and in the process I found myself.” Of all people, a newsman should understand that facts are more powerful than flourishes.
Saturday at 7 p.m. at Goethe-Institut. Director Mike Walter will be present.