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Fragile Trust, A

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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Bullfrog Films
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 75 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2013
Available in French: No

A FRAGILE TRUST tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism. In 2003 Blair was caught plagiarizing and supplementing his own reporting with fabricated details in dozens of stories published in the Times. The daily operations of the Times newsroom became a public spectacle as every major news outlet picked up the story and ran with it. The fact that Blair is African-American was emphasized again and again as accounts of the 'Blair Affair' served up sordid details in a soap-opera style tale of deception, drug abuse, racism, mental illness, hierarchy, white guilt, and power struggles inside the hallowed halls of the New York Times.
Through the course of the film, we follow Blair as he slowly unravels in the face of mounting pressures and distractions. Starting with his 'reporting' of the plagiarized article that ultimately lead to his undoing, we trace the rise and fall of this fascinating young reporter as he clings to his career at the Times even as he is losing his mind.
Featuring exclusive interviews with everyone involved, including former Executive Editor Howell Raines and Blair himself, A FRAGILE TRUST is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring deeper themes of power, ethics, and responsibility in the mainstream media.

"Well-balanced...meticulous. Portrait of disgraced reporter Jayson Blair raises tough questions about journalistic ethics and personal responsibility in the digital era." - Ronnie Scheib, Variety
"A remarkable film for its probing, its wealth of detail and testimony - remarkable above all, perhaps, in the clinical picture of its subject, one devoid of any efforts to assign mitigating factors to his disastrous career, whether of race or class." - Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal

DVD Features
2 versions: the original 75-minute version and a 57-minute version,
plus scene selection for both versions, and SDH captions.


National PBS Broadcast on "Independent Lens"
Best Documentary Award, Macon Film Festival
Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award, Salem Film Fest
Nominated for Special Jury Award & EDA Award, Sheffield Doc/Fest
Nominated for Best Documentary, Hawaii International Film Festival
Nominated for Metropolis Award, DOC NYC
Nominated for Best Documentary, Big Sky Documnetary Film Festival
Nominated for Best Documentary, Fargo Film Festival
Selected for HotDocs DocSoup screening series
Nominated for Best Documentary, Cleveland International Film Festival
River Run International Film Festival
DOXA International Film Festival


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