The Newsroom Recap: What It Means to Report the News

'The Newsroom' reflects on the weight news carries

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When Joe Biden—who, of course, is a BFFL of Will's—gives him the green light to run the story, the anchor snaps out of Dazed and Confused mode to report the raid.

Before Will's closing monologue, the episode includes one final twist: The mysterious tipster calls Charlie again, not to address the bin Laden revelation, but rather to insinuate that TMI, a troublesome tabloid owned by ACN's parent company, is engaging in illegal phone-hacking tactics, a la the real-life News of the World scandal, setting up the next series of challenges the News Night team will surely face.

According to Jessica Stuart, who spent 15 years working in the TV industry including at various network and cable news outlets, "5/1" nailed a couple key details about covering big stories.

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"The drills are real," Stuart said of Neal's explanation that the staff practices breaking news procedures on a monthly basis. "Everyone gets into place. Everyone makes the phone calls. They were really intense," she explained. The tension between Washington and New York bureaus is also very common, she said. "It goes back to that anchor competition that is always there."

"It had a neat message about reporting the news and what that really means," she said, discussing the episode. Stuart was not still working in the industry to cover the bin Laden raid, but was working for NBC during the 9/11 terrorist attack, when she was stuck at an airport, not unlike Don, Elliot, and Sloan. In The Newsroom, Don reports to the captain and the rest of the plane that Osama bin Laden was dead. Stuart too recounted comforting airline staff members seeking information on that tragic September day. "You had this moment of, we are the only link to any information whatsoever, and it was a pretty emotional moment."

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  • Tierney Sneed is associate editor of U.S. News Opinion. E-mail her at tsneed@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.